If recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that young Americans have taken a decided turn to the left. Young voters delivered Obama the election: the under-44 set voted Obama and the over-45 set broke for Romney. The youngest voters, age 18-29, gave Obama a whopping 60 percent of their vote.
Now Republicans have a plan to try to recapture the youngest voters out there: Take over the curriculum in public schools, replace education with a bunch of conservative propaganda, and reap the benefits of having a new generation that can’t tell reality from right-wing fantasy.
How well this plan will work is debatable, but in the meantime, these shenanigans present the very real possibility that public school students will graduate without a proper education. To make it worse, many of these attempts to rewrite school curriculum are happening in Texas, which can set the textbook standards for the entire country by simply wielding its power as one of the biggest school textbook markets there is. With that in mind, here’s a list of 11 lies your kid may be in danger of learning in school.
Lie No. 1: Racism has barely been an issue in U.S. history and slavery wasn’t that big a deal.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute reviewed the new social studies standards laid down by the right-wing-dominated Texas State School Board and found them to be a deplorable example of conservative wishful thinking replacing fact. At the top of list? Downplaying the role that slavery had in starting the Civil War, and instead focusing on “sectionalism” and “states’ rights,” even though the sectionalism and states’ rights arguments directly stemmed from Southern states wanting to keep slavery. There’s also a chance your kid might be misled to think post-Civil War racism was no big deal, as the standards excise any mention of the KKK, the phrase “Jim Crow” or the Black Codes. Mention is made of the Southern Democratic opposition to civil rights, but mysteriously, the mass defection of Southern Democrats to the Republican Party to punish the rest of the Democrats for supporting civil rights goes unmentioned.
Lie No. 2: Joe McCarthy was right.
The red-baiting of the mid-20th century has gone down in history, correctly, as a witch hunt that stemmed from irrational paranoia that gripped the U.S. after WWII. But now, according to the Thomas B. Fordham report, your kid might learn that the red baiters had a point: “It is disingenuously suggested that the House Un-American Activities Committee—and, by extension, McCarthyism—have been vindicated by the Venona decrypts of Soviet espionage activities (which had, in reality, no link to McCarthy’s targets).” Critical lessons about being skeptical of those who attack fellow Americans while wrapping themselves in the flag will be lost for students whose textbooks adhere to these standards.
Lie No. 3: Climate change is a massive hoax scientists have perpetuated on the public.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been hard at work pushing for laws requiring that climate change denialism be taught in schools as a legitimate scientific theory. Unfortunately, as Neela Banerjee of the L.A. Times reports, they’ve already had some serious success: “Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change.” Other states are taking the “teach the controversy” strategy that helped get creationism into biology classrooms, asking teachers to treat climate change like it’s a matter of political debate instead of a scientifically established fact.
The reality is that climate change is a fact that has overwhelming scientific consensus. In 2004, Science reviewed the 928 relevant studies on climate change published between 1993 and 2003 and found that exactly zero of them denied that climate change was a reality, and most found it had man-made causes. To claim that climate change is a “controversy” requires one to believe that there’s a massive conspiracy involving nearly all the scientists in the world. So, your kids are not only not learning the realities of climate change, they are also learning, if indirectly, to give credence to conspiracy theory paranoia.
Right Wing Watch found Another Gem of stupidity, bigotry and godwins. Speaking at a local Tea party event, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, basically compared himself to Martin Luther King, and and claimed that obeying a supreme court ruling legalizing same sex marriage, is as morally horrendous as turning over Jews to the Nazis during world War 2.
Yeah Mat your cause is equivalent to the fight against segregation! And oh, allowing gay people to get married is the same as the Holocaust! Gag me with a spoon!
Also there’s something you should know about what MLK’s wife thought about gay rights. Tell me Mat, was Coretta Scott King equivalent to a Nazi for her support of gay rights? Would her husband have considered her equivalent to mass murderers?
This isn’t really that surprising unfortunately, given how some far right nut jobs have already compared pro marriage equality rulings to Jim Crow laws and slavery. I guess it was only a matter of time before they hit us with an insensitive holocaust comparison, after some unjustified analogies to Dred Scott. Man these guys must really hate gay people.
by Mark Sandlin
Good and gracious God,
There is a tension that comes
with giving thanks.
Even as we recognize
and are grateful for
the blessings in our lives,
we are confronted with
enjoying our abundance
as we recognize the reality
that there are those
who have far too little.
Even as we celebrate a holiday
with roots which reach back
to the beginnings of our nation,
we are confronted with
the reality of
the genocide and slavery
upon which it was found.
We do not forget these things.
We do not celebrate them.
We do not give thanks for them.
In this our tale of Thanksgiving,
they are the terrible storyline
which we must not forget.
and our pursuit of possessions
have constantly stood
alongside of our blessings
as a reminder.
They remind us why we give thanks.
They remind us that life
is sacred and fragile
and that we
are its biggest threats.
They remind us that we do not want
to be those people again,
people who lord over others
and are self-adsorbed and self-important.
They remind us to appreciate
what we do have.
So, we give thanks.
We give thanks for this moment.
We give thanks for the things
that are right about the world
in this moment.
We give thanks for family and friends.
We give thanks for love and laughter.
We give thanks for grace and good company.
We give thanks for the tension
we find in a day like today
because it provides us the insight
and the motivation
to create better tomorrows.
Not just for ourselves,
not just for our families,
not just for our friends
but for the world.
So, today and everyday,
we give thanks
and we work to create a world
that gives more reasons
for which to be thankful.
Here’s something Hypatia Livingston has posted on Breitbart Unmasked that is hard to believe.
A 21-year-old Massachusetts man who considers himself a “sovereign
citizen” recently tried to get out of a traffic ticket with an unusual
defense — even for a sovereign citizen. Rather than claim that the laws
don’t exist, Christopher Noone claimed that he doesn’t exist,
and therefore no one has the right to fine him for anything. He is
disputing the state’s definition of personhood by claiming he “wasn’t a
person as defined by the commonwealth of Massachusetts, [and
therefore]he wasn’t bound by its laws.”
Someone should tell Christopher Noone that if he’s not a person under the law, he doesn’t have any rights under the law either.
Here’s a pretty good explanation as to what a person is, in case Christopher actually is dense enough not to understand the concept. This a political cartoon criticizing the nonsensical idea of “corporate personhood” Check the left side of the image to see what a person actually is.
Image via seattle.cbslocal.com
Here’s more from Breitbart Unmasked
“I, Christopher Patrick Noone, do not consent to being a person, because I am not according to the legal definition of a person that being a
fiction. I, Christopher Patrick Noone, am a living breathing free man,
not a legal fiction. Nor do I have any contracts or obligations to or
with any legal fictions,” Noone wrote in a motion he presented to the
Um, if you don’t consent to being a person, than you don’t consent to
having rights either. Sorry that’s just the way it is. Does he have
any idea how people have been treated, when they’re not regarded as
People? I’ll point out just a couple of examples, slavery in the
antebellum south, and the Holocaust.
Also as Dave Rogers at The Salem News pointed out,
A check of Noone’s name and date of birth, provided by Noone, showed that there was no license status for him and that he had been charged with unlicensed operation in Monson.
And if you keep reading, you’ll eventually see this,
Later, Noone asked another prosecution witness, Registry of Motor Vehicles employee Patricia Kelly, what requirements were necessary to obtain a driver’s license. When told that a person had to be 16 years of age and provide proof of identification such as a birth certificate or Social Security number, Noone said he had none of those documents.
“So, you have no evidence I am a person,” Noone said, adding that according to his beliefs, a person is a corporation as far as the commonwealth is concerned.
Trepanier was recalled to the witness stand, where he told prosecutor Nathaniel Sears that Noone told him his full name and his date of birth. Noone quickly objected, saying he did no such thing.
“I don’t have a date of birth,” Noone said.
Hypatia Livingston posted an image of a statue face palming over at Breitbart Unmasked, but it isn’t enough, Christopher Noone deserves an epic face palm compilation for his stupidity!
What an idiot.*
*Note: much of this is from a comment I posted on the Breitbart Unmasked article, but since it was my own comment, its not really plagiarism.
Conservative hero Ben Carson is worried about American teenagers joining ISIS. But it’s not because of “radical Islam.” It’s because of new high school history standards.
American’s right wing, you see, is terrified of history because it is always sentimentalizing it. Many of its arguments rely on a feeling of nostalgia for “good old days,” that appeals almost exclusively to aging whites. That means that a more accurate history, one that considers groups that are traditionally marginalized — women, people of color, Native Americans, immigrants and the poor — don’t necessarily sit that well. Their stories, the stories of the downtrodden, crush the false narrative that many conservatives like to imagine — that of a idyllic past marred by the New Deal, women’s liberation and civil rights.
In Denver, a school board recently tried to limit the historical curriculum to only events that would, “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights.” Needless to say, much of American history — the Great Depression, the Trail of Tears and the internment of Japanese-Americans — would, under those parameters, need to obfuscated. The Republic National Committee, meanwhile, has issued a statement calling the new Advanced Placement U.S. History standards “radically revisionist.” But conservatives may want to take the plank out of their own eye before examining the speck in their neighbors. Here are the most important distortions of history the right has promoted recently.
Before Welfare, Everything Was Awesome
Example: Marvin Olasky’s “Tragedy of American Compassion,” which argues, “Americans in urban areas a century ago faced many of the problems we face today, and they came up with truly compassionate solutions.”
The Problem: As with most conservative revisionism, the idea is that before nasty programs like welfare, the poor did just fine, because private charity aided them. Many conservatives will argue that the War on Poverty has done nothing to reduce poverty and instead we should rely on private charity. But the War on Poverty has actually done much to eliminate poverty and private charity could never fill that chasm that would open up if federal poverty programs were eliminated. So how did we get rid of poverty before government? The answer is that there never was a mythical time without government.
As Mike Konczal writes,
“There has always been a mixed welfare state made up of private and public organizations throughout our country’s history. Outdoor relief, or cash assistance outside of institutions, was an early legal responsibility of American towns, counties, and parishes from colonial times through the early nineteenth century.”
Later, Congress established a pension system for civil war veterans that consumed about 25 percent of all government spending. Rather than “welfare queens” being a post New-Deal development, some 40 states had programs to support single mothers in 1920. In fact, far from being an invention of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and liberals, social insurance programs are staple in civil society. Frederik Pedersen finds that back in the 10th through 12th centuries, Iceland had an extensive social welfare program. Rome, too, had a system of public support designed to aid poor children.
Elizabeth Bruenig notes that the purely voluntary Church-based social insurance many Christians adore never existed. Conservatives ignore the fact that the church was often acting in accord with the state, “You couldn’t just not tithe; the Church would get it out of you somehow, and even had specific statutes related to methods of tithing which fit it into the schema of secular taxation.” Islamic public assistance was also a hybrid church-state institution. The idea that there has ever been a successful purely voluntary public assistance program is a conservative myth invented to justify dismantling anti-poverty programs in the name of a utopian fantasy.
Basically everything about slavery
Example: Recently convicted felon and conservative columnist Dinesh D’Souza’s book, “The End of Racism,” provides some great examples of rewriting race. D’Souza says of slavery, “No free workers enjoyed a comparable social security system from birth until death.” Later, he writes, “Masters … encouraged the family unit which basically remained intact.” In a particularly appalling passage, he writes, “slavery appears such a relatively mild business that one begins to wonder why Frederick Douglass and so many other ever tried to escape.” And concludes, “In summary, the American slave was treated like property, which is to say, pretty well.”
I called this “Culture” for lack of a better category. To err on the side of caution, I’m declaring the following links NSFW. My mind has gone to a dark place today, and you’re invited. No, there isn’t any particular reason I feel this way now. I just do. Its just that misery loves company, and I could use some. If you don’t want your day ruined, close this page NOW.
You think you know fairy tales? You probably don’t. According to this video, alot lot of them used to be much worse than their modern versions. They were outright horror stories. For example, Hansel and Gretel used to be more horrifying than “witch wants to eat lost children, so they put the witch into her own oven.”
“Top 10 Fairy Tale Dark Origins” by Creeps McPasta Plays
Fiction not enough to ruin your day? How about some reality? Most of the toys in this next video were real safety hazards. And too often the companies making them knew it and didn’t care. Yes, this includes some talk about death.
“15 Worst Toys Ever Recalled” by Danger Dolan
Dead and/or mangled kids not bad enough? How about putting a child through hell on earth, and forever ruining your image of small towns while we’re at it? This final link is a Cracked article of the “What Rape Culture?” type, to borrow a fellow lizard’s phrase.
“5 Things I Learned as a Sex Slave in Modern America” by Anonymous (+ Robert Evans)
When you hear about modern-day slavery, you probably picture some third-world brutality occurring in Africa or Southeast Asia (and if you just muttered something about your unpaid office internship, go ahead and slap yourself right now). When you hear about sex trafficking, you imagine a gang of Eastern European thugs kidnapping women and getting chased down by Liam Neeson.
But, incredibly, human trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States today. Statistically, Liam Neeson is more likely to sell his own daughter into slavery than have her stolen by some mysteriously brown Parisians. Cracked wanted to know how the hell this was possible, so we sat down with “Jane,” a former sex slave, and asked her about her life.
If you’re not disgusted and horrified to your core by now, then you’re either pure evil or just completely dead inside. If these links (especially the last) have made you uncomfortable, depressed, sick to your guts and/or angry, then thank you for joining me today.
Oh my God, the stupid, it burns! Brian Tashman reports on a double six pack of derp.
On his radio show last month, Religious Right broadcaster Kevin Swanson hosted a neo-Confederate author to discuss how Abraham Lincoln used the Civil War — or as he called it, “The War Against The South” — to impose socialism on America.
Swanson is adding Lincoln to the list of people, such as Mark Twain, who he believes ruined the country by replacing Antebellum slavery with Big Government socialist slavery.
“It’s the socialist utopians that come into town and they promise deliverance from local fiefdoms only to create a large tyranny in the Soviet Union, Soviet America and Soviet China and Soviet everywhere else in the world,” he said.
By the way, I have a question. Had Lincoln even heard of Marxism? I mean this was long before the Soviet Union, the first officially communist country. Sure the communist manifesto last I checked was written in the late 1840s, so its ideas were around during Lincoln’s time but how popular was in America before the Civil War? That’s even ignoring the fact that extremely few people would choose to live as slaves in the antebellum over life today in twenty first century “soviet America.” Off course we’re not talking about people who understand history when we’re talking about people like Kevin Swanson or Walter Kennedy, are we?
Seriously? They actually teach that? If slavery was so “good” that whites “envied” the “freedom” of enslaved blacks, why were there so many abolitionists, and why the hell didn’t more whites fight for the right to become slaves instead of freeing them? Oh and racism was “caused” by the very people who fought to end slavery, not the people who fought to justify it? This is some kind of really weird bizarreo world racist stupidity. “The 5,000 Year Leap” and “The Making of America,” shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a public school history class, for any grade. Either that, or the teachers need to not use them as history textbooks and instead use them as an exercise in critical thinking skills and show their students how to spot nonsensical propaganda.
Elias Isquith has more,
Tea Party activists rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, June 19, 2013. (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
The nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State is calling out one of the oldest public charter schools in Arizona for using two books from crank and Glenn Beck favorite Cleon Skousen that promote racism and a Christian nationalist interpretation of American history, reports the Arizona Republic.
The school, Heritage Academy, is apparently using two of Skousen’s most popular books, “The 5,000 Year Leap” and “The Making of America,” in an attempt to educate its student body of the ways in which America was actually founded by hardcore Jerry Falwell-style Christian conservatives.
This is not the same thing as trying to indoctrinate children, however, claims Earl Taylor, the school’s founder and principal. “Our purpose is not to convert students to different religious views,” Taylor promised. “It is to show them that religion influenced what the Founders did.”
Worse still, some parts of the Skousen books being given to Heritage Academy’s students — and presented as textbooks, rather than historical documents — also depict American slavery in a racist and risibly sympathetic light.
Kyle Kulinski at Secular Talk reports on this rather disturbing story ( foul language warning )
Yeah the confederates were such “Godly gentlemen” yeah, “Godly gentlemen” who thought this was okay.
Who says racism is dead? We really should redouble our efforts to fight it, if people like Malcolm Butner can still get into positions of power and not lose their job over racist outbursts like this. He shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near an important government job like housing chairman, in any state. Thank God we did away with Jim Crow and we still have the 1964 Civil Rights Act in place. Also we should all be glad the Confederacy lost, otherwise there could still be parts of North America where one’s legal status was determined by their “race.” We should all be thankful that people like him didn’t get their way.