Tag Archives: education

Live-blogging the third Dem debate

Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Sanders and O'Malley resume debating with rival Clinton missing from her podium as she failed to return from a break at the Democratic presidential candidates debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester

Reuters photo

Tonight’s third Democratic Party presidential debate resumed for several seconds without Billary Clinton, who hadn’t returned to her center podium on time after a break. Apparently the Force wasn’t with Billary quite enough… Anyway, tonight’s debate may have boosted the on-fire Bernie Sanders a bit, but probably didn’t change the overall dynamics of the race; Bernie and Billary remain the frontrunners, with apparent veep wannabe Martin O’Malley remaining at a distant third.

5:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time): The debate starts any moment now. It’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, and is being hosted by ABC News.

5:02 p.m.: Pre-debate chatter has included George Stephanopoulos claiming that the San Bernardino massacre is at the top of the voters’ minds. Really? Is it? Or is that the corporately owned and controlled media trying to tell us commoners what to be concerned about? I mean, they wouldn’t want us to be concerned about, oh, say, income inequality, would they?

Anyway, since Stephanopoulos worked in the Clinton White House, how impartial can he be?

5:08 p.m.: Prognosticator Nate Silver just gave a too-short cameo. He stated that whoever wins the Iowa caucuses on February 1 can expect about a seven-point bounce in the polls. Yup. That’s why I very much hope that Bernie Sanders wins Iowa. He’s already leading in New Hampshire, so a win in Iowa for Sanders no doubt would lead to a win in New Hampshire (on February 9), which probably would result in the collapse of Billary Clinton’s campaign.

5:14 p.m.: The talking heads are blathering about the Repugnicans’ presidential race. WTF? I don’t watch the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, as I won’t waste my time on their hate- and lie-fests, but I highly doubt that during the Repugnican Tea Party presidential debate coverage, the Democrats are discussed.

5:26 p.m.: 5:00 p.m. was widely advertised as the start time of this thing, but apparently 5:30 p.m. is the actual start time…

5:31 p.m.: ABC’s live stream keeps freezing on me, so the times of my comments that you see here might be a bit off… The three candidates are on the stage now. Once again, Bernie Sanders is to the left of Billary Clinton’s left as you look at them. I still love that symbolism.

5:33 p.m.: Billary, who wants to be panderer in chief, speaks first. She mentioned ISIS before she mentioned Americans’ socioeconomic well-being. Typical of her.

5:34 p.m.: Martin O’Malley speaks second. He mentioned ISIS first, too. Creep. Democratic leaders lead the debate; they don’t follow the Repugnican Tea Party’s “lead,” don’t let them set the agenda.

5:36 p.m.: Bernie Sanders speaks now. He mentioned the economy first. That’s called leadership. Bernie also has spoken about climate change. He spoke about ISIS and combatting it and terrorism last, which was in order of our national priorities (well, OK, I’d put climate change first).

5:39 p.m.: Of course “Datagate” has come up. Bernie blames the IT vendor for allowing his campaign staff to have seen Clinton campaign data and states that the one staff member who is known to have looked at Clinton campaign data has been fired. (They just cut away to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose smug face I would love to wipe off of her head.)

Bernie, although prompted, has apologized to Billary for “Datagate.” She has accepted his apology and states that an independent investigation will be done of “Datagate” (“Datagate” is my word [and The Nation’s], not hers) and that we need to move on. Yes, we do.

(Bernie also has reminded us that during the first debate he “pardoned” [my word, not his] Billary for E-mailgate, and he indicated that he’d like “Datagate” not to consume all of the oxygen in the room, either, as the nation has much larger fish to fry. Yup. Martin O’Malley has concurred.)

5:45 p.m.: Now discussion of ISIS. ISIS is not our greatest issue, so I don’t think that I’m going to play along and regurgitate everything about ISIS here.

5:48 p.m.: O’Malley seems earnest, but he polls in the low single digits. Um, yeah.

Bernie reminds us that he voted against the 2003 Vietraq War, and states that he opposes unilateral American military action. He states that he believes that Muslims in the Middle East should lead the war against ISIS. Yup.

5:50 p.m.: Now gun control. I do agree with Billary on this issue, although it’s a new-found “concern” of hers. Billary states that we need to work with Muslims here in the United States to prevent their “radicalization.” Of course we do. (Of course, we need to work with the “Christo”fascists also to prevent their radicalization, since [9/11 aside] they kill many more Americans than do the “Islamofascists.”)

5:52 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that people do have the constitutional right to own guns. Yup. That said, Bernie says, we need “sensible gun safety regulations.” Yup. We need to strengthen background checks and “eliminate the gun-show loophole,” he says, adding that civilians do not need military-grade weaponry. Yup.

5:54 p.m.: O’Malley is acting like he’s in a Repugnican debate and is refusing to play by the rules of the debate. He’s being allowed to talk over the moderator. He’s being an asshole, acting like a candidate whose polling is trapped in the single digits…

5:56 p.m.: Bernie is adamantly defending himself against O’Malley’s attack. Go, Bernie! We need this in our champion. Bernie reminds us that any change in gun laws needs consensus in Congress. Unfortunately, my live streaming is going in and out now and I’m missing much of this discussion… I apologize for that…

6:01 p.m.: Billary just said that Donald Trump, with his Islamophobic demagoguery, “is becoming ISIS’ best recruiter.” Yup.

Bernie reminds us now that Americans aren’t concerned just about terrorism, but are concerned about their socioeconomic status and their children’s future. Bernie is very animated, talking about how while Donald Trump demagogues that Mexicans and Muslims are our enemy, “the rich get richer.” Yup. And wow. Bernie is on fire!

6:04 p.m.: Moderator Martha Raddatz, whom I’ve always liked (she is firm and stern but fair), just had to check O’Malley, something that the male moderator, whose name I don’t know (he looks like a vapid underwear model who fairly recently became a TV news “talent”) couldn’t do. As I’ve said before, O’Malley seems to be hanging in there only in order to become the vice-presidential candidate.

6:07 p.m.: O’Malley just awkwardly name-dropped the name of an American Muslim friend of his (kind of like saying that you have a black friend or a gay friend) and told a maudlin story about his Muslim American friend’s child asking his father if a President Donald Trump would remove them from their home because they’re Muslim. Jesus fuck, Martin.

6:10 p.m.: The discussion now is on refugees from the Middle East. O’Malley is eager to let us all know that he’s better than his opponents on this issue.

6:11 p.m.: Martha now asks Bernie Sanders why he doesn’t support boots on the ground against ISIS when in the past he has supported boots on the ground against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The U.S. can’t be the world police, he responds. Bernie says the boots on the ground should be Middle Eastern Muslim boots, not American boots. He slams rich Middle Eastern nations for not doing enough to combat ISIS, but squandering their resources elsewhere, such as on hosting the World Cup. Hell, yeah!

6:15 p.m.: Billary states that ISIS wants American troops back in the Middle East (especially in Iraq in Syria), “Americans soldiers on the ground fighting them,” giving them “a great recruiting opportunity.” Wow. I agree with her on this.

But Martha now follows up, reminding us that the small special operations forces that Billary supports against ISIS in the Middle East could end up like Vietnam, which began with small operations forces there… Billary calls that a “false choice.”

6:18 p.m.: O’Malley is talking. Does it matter? Just keeping it real… Well, OK, he has called ISIS a “genocidal threat,” which is fairly accurate. As I have stated before, I want ISIS vanquished, as I would want any mass-murderous theocrats vanquished, but the U.S. is rotting from within here at home, and we can’t return to the days of the unelected Bush regime in which it was All Terror, All The Time, while things here at home continued to disintegrate.

6:21 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he voted against the Vietraq War in October 2002 while Billary voted for it, and he charges that Billary is too much into “regime change.” He stats that “regime change” too often creates a “political vacuum filled by terrorists,” such as happened in Iraq because of the Vietraq War.

Billary fights back, stating that Bernie voted for regime change in Libya against Moammar Gadhafi.*

6:24 p.m.: The topic now is Libya, on which I’m largely ignorant. Billary now states that she opposes having Iranians in Syria, something I don’t know that Bernie Sanders ever advocated, if that is what she was implying.

“The destruction of ISIS” is our primary concern regarding the Middle East right now, since it was ISIS that struck Paris and apparently inspired the San Bernardino mass murderers, Bernie stated. (Again, there has been zero evidence that there was any actual coordination between ISIS and the San Bernardino mass murderers, so to me the comparison of San Bernardino to Paris is a very, very weak one, usually made by those [treasonous right-wingers, that is] who would love an actual attack on the U.S. by ISIS for political gain, such as how 9/11, which the unelected Bush regime had done precious little to nothing to prevent, was great for the Bush regime to use for political gain. [They were able to use it long enough to at least to “win” “re”-election in November 2004.])

6:27 p.m.: Martin O’Malley just got booed by the audience — quite deservedly so — after stating that he wanted to bring a younger generation’s perspective to the issue of the Middle East. Wow. It was an ageist statement, and perhaps the lowest that he has sunk in these debates thus far.

6:30 p.m.: Whew. Finally, a break.

Thus far I believe that O’Malley has harmed himself by having made an ageist comment and having made an asshole of himself by ignoring the underwear model cum moderator (whose name apparently is David) and talking over him.

I don’t see that either Billary or Bernie can be called the “winner” thus far. That is, if you’re a Clintonista, perhaps even a Billarybot, you’ll say that Billary “won” this debate, and if you are a “Berner,” you’ll say that Bernie “won” it. This pretty much was the same dynamic that we saw in the first two debates.

That said, Bernie has been on fire and has made no flubs or gaffes that I have spotted.

6:37 p.m.: Uh-oh — Billary was late in returning to the stage. They resumed without her. Awkward…

The subject now is the economy. Bernie says that we need “to tell the billionaire class, ‘You cannot have it all.'” He says we need a $15/hour minimum wage, equal pay for women, youth employment, job creation via infrastructure work and tuition-free higher education. Yup.

O’Malley is talking, but he pretty much lost me with his ageist comment. I wish that he would drop out already and stop wasting our time, but I doubt that he will. He really needs a new job, apparently.

6:41 p.m.: Billary states that income inequality is bad for our economy and our democracy. “You’re not going to hear anything about this” from the Repugnican presidential candidates, she stated correctly. She states, among other things, that we need to raise the minimum wage, but she doesn’t tell us that she supports only a $12/hour minimum wage, not a $15/hour minimum wage.

6:43 p.m.: Billary states that the super-wealthy should pay at least 30 percent in taxes. Yup. She talks about helping small businesses, which is a canard frequently used by those of the center-right to support capitalism, even though capitalism stopped being about small businesses decades ago and has been about large to gargantuan corporations for decades now.

6:45 p.m.: Bernie states that while corporate America might love a President Billary, as she just said that they should, as president corporate America will hate him. Go, Bernie! Bernie reminds us that he won’t take campaign contributions from corporations. Greed is destroying our economy and the lives of million of Americans, he just said forcefully. Again, he’s on fire tonight.

6:47 p.m.: O’Malley just stated that the way forward is not through Bernie Sanders’ socialism, “which the rest of the world is moving away from” (let the fact-checkers sort that one out [and O’Malley’s shameless red-baiting is pathetic and is just another symptom of his desperation]) or Billary Clinton’s “crony capitalism.”

Bernie pretty much just ignores the red-bating bullshit and Billary once again tries to deflect, indicating that the Repugnicans are the main enemy. Weak. (She’s used this rather pathetic tactic in the previous debates.)

6:51 p.m.: Bernie reminds us once again that he has no super-PAC and that Billary has taken a lot of money from Wall Street over the years.

6:52 p.m.: The topic now is health care, including “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act). While “Obamacare” has made some improvements in our national health care system, such as no longer penalizing those with pre-existing conditions, out-of-pocket expenses and prescription-drug prices need to be reined in, Billary says. “We need to build on it and fix it,” she says (“it” apparently being “Obamacare”).

6:55 p.m.: Bernie calls for single-payer health care and proclaims that health care should be a right. I agree wholeheartedly. He points out that nations that pay much less for health care have better health-care outcomes than does the U.S. He states that under his plan, the average American family would save thousands of dollars a year on health-care costs.

6:58 p.m.: Bernie is asked how tuition-free college would work. He cites new sports facilities and overpaid college and university administrators as part of the problem of overpriced higher education. Bernie says a “speculation tax on Wall Street” would pay for his plan for tuition-free college.

7:00 p.m.: O’Malley touts “an income-based [student-loan] repayment plan.” I support a no-payment repayment plan — that is, student loans need to be eliminated altogether and we need to make higher education a right, just like health care. (We can afford to educate our people; we need only significantly pare down our bloated-beyond-belief military budget, which exists far more for fat government contracts for greedy traitors than it does for the actual defense of the nation.)

7:02 p.m.: Billary correctly states that the states have defunded their colleges and universities over the past decades and put the money elsewhere, such as prisons (and tax breaks for the wealthy, of course, I would add).

Billary does not support free tuition, however, she states. As I’ve said before, Billary wants a Band-Aid where an emergency surgery is required. She doesn’t go nearly far enough, which is part of her long history of progressive rhetoric but center-right action that preserves the status quo so that she doesn’t step on any toes so that the campaign cash keeps flowing to her coffers.

Billary Clinton and her fellow hypocritical baby boomers should want today’s college students to have it as well as they did when they were of college age, when the “greatest generation” gladly paid for their college education and did not saddle them with crippling student-loan debt.

7:08 p.m.: It just got a little feisty there between Bernie and Billary, but not rancorous, which is to the Democratic Party’s credit, I believe. I’m having live-streaming issues again, so I hope that I’m not missing anything right now…

7:10 p.m.: I guess we’re on break now. Harry Enten and Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com are being interviewed now. I like both of the nerds and read them regularly. Silver says Billary’s lead in Iowa “is not that large.” He says Billary still “has vulnerability in Iowa.” He says that Bernie can win both Iowa and New Hampshire. Wow.

I’m now having live-streaming issues yet once again… I missed what this Clair (spelling?) pundit had to say…

7:15 p.m.: We’re back to the debate. Now the topic is relations between law enforcement officers and civilians. O’Malley indicates that as mayor of Baltimore he inherited a deeply troubled city but that as mayor of the city and then as governor of Maryland he brought down crime and incarceration rates.

Bernie points out that we have 2.2 million, predominantly black and Latino, Americans behind bars. We need to end institutionalized racism and reform the criminal justice system, he says, adding that our law-enforcement officers need to stop shooting unarmed, predominantly black, Americans, and that the “war on drugs” needs to end. Police departments should look like the communities they serve and minimum sentencing must stop. We need more jobs and less incarceration, he said.

Bernie handled that question remarkably better than did Billary, whose repsonse was unremarkable and unmemorable, or O’Malley.

7:22 p.m.: Now the topic is drugs (primarily heroin and other opiates, apparently). Bernie says that addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Yup. He says part of a health-care overhaul must be fast and effective drug-addiction treatment. Yup.

Billary has “a five-point plan” to combat opiate abuse, she says. She advocates for greater availability of the drug Naloxone, which prevents opiate overdose deaths.

O’Malley is name-dropping again; apparently he has known people addicted to opiates. (When you’re unemployed, I guess, you have the opportunity to meet a lot of people…) He advocates for a $12 billion federal program to combat opiate addiction.

7:26 p.m.: Martha Raddatz brings the discussion back to Libya. “How much responsibility do you bear for the chaos that followed elections” in Libya, Martha just asked Billary. Wow.

Billary doesn’t really answer, but claims that things in Libya are getting better now, adding, “this is not easy work.”

That wasn’t good enough for Martha, who never lets you off easily. She repeats the question almost verbatim.

Billary claims that Libyans were not responsive to offers from help after Gadhafi was overthrown. So I guess she blames the Libyans.

“Were mistakes made?” Martha, probably exasperated, asks.

Billary still won’t actually answer the question.

7:30 p.m.: Bernie reminds us that regime change often doesn’t work. Overthrowing a dictator is relatively easy; it’s hard to predict what will happen after regime change, he said.

7:32 p.m.: O’Malley seems to share Bernie’s distaste for regime change. Before that, Billary made an odd remark that we need to both be able to support “strong men” in the Middle East and promote democracy. Whut?

7:34 p.m.: I guess this is the last question, and it’s a dumb one; apparently the question is whether or not it’s time to change the role of a president’s spouse, and it seems directed mainly at Bill Clinton, who would be the nation’s first first gentlemen should (shudder) Billary win the White House.

Bernie now is talking of his own wife, adding that she was a foster parent before he married her, and that as first lady of the U.S. she would be a “forceful advocate” for our youth.

O’Malley states that as first lady of Maryland, his wife was an advocate against domestic violence, but that as first lady of the nation she would do or not do whatever she pleased, that it would be up to her. (Why wouldn’t it be, Martin? Anyway, she won’t be first lady of the U.S. unless O’Malley becomes vice president and the president dies or otherwise no longer can serve in office, but OK…)

7:39 p.m.: A break now. We’re told there is “much more to come.” Oh, I hope not. This has been enough…

7:40 p.m.: Oh, good. George Stephanopoulos, of whom we’ve seen little tonight, thankfully, has said closing statements are close at hand. George and his ABC News companion are talking about the Repugnicans’ reponse to tonight’s debate thus far. I could give a shit what their response is…

7:44 p.m.: Closing statements now. Bernie first. “On our worst day” he and his two competitors for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination have more to offer the American people than the best that the Repugnican presidential contenders can offer the American people, he says. Yup.

Bernie says that he will bring about a “political revolution” in which millions stand up and say “enough is enough,” that “this country belongs to all of us, not to just a handful of billionaires.” (I quasi-paraphrase, but that’s pretty darn close.)

O’Malley now. He says tonight has been “a healthy exchange of ideas.” He says the Repugnican debates are filled with “anger” and “fear,” but not the Democrats’. Yeah. True that. Now O’Malley brings up climate change and reminds us that we live in “divided and polarized times.”

Billary now warns of a Repugnican taking over the White House in January 2017. She’s now pretty much fear-mongering, even though O’Malley just said that the Dems don’t do that…

Not that she’s wrong about what a Repugnican White House administration would do and how bad it would be for the nation, but she’s using the old Clintonian triangulating tactic of “Vote for me, because the Repugnicans are even worse and scarier!”

That lesser-of-two-evils tactic stopped being good enough long ago, if it ever was good enough. Read my lips: I. Will. Not. Vote. For. Billary. Clinton. Ever.

Jesus Christ. Billary just had the very last words of tonight’s debate, which were “May the Force be with you.”

Was that supposed to be funny? Did some nerdy, virginal intern come up with that, telling her it would make her appear to be hip? It was just awkward and a bit weird.

Anyway. The debate is over, thank Goddess. (While I still strongly maintain that it’s bullshit that thanks to Billarybot and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz we have gone from 26 Democratic presidential primary debates in 2008 to six this cycle, I probably won’t complain that I have only three more live-blogging sessions to go. [Twenty-six debates in 2008 was excessive, but we could have gone with at least 10 or 12 this time around. Fuck, at least eight.])

I don’t think that this debate will help O’Malley. We’ll see whether his ageist comment comes back to haunt him or not. (Not that his poll numbers could go much lower…)

“Datagate” probably is pretty much over now — it was a “scandal” that lasted all of two days…

I believe that tonight Bernie Sanders had his best of three-thus-far debate performances. He gets a bit repetitive if you follow him, as I do, but that also is called keeping on message, for which I can’t fault a serious candidate. And I don’t see it as his inability to be flexible, but I see it as his recognition that important issues easily can be sidelined with the corporately owned and controlled “news” media’s scandal du jour, such as the San Bernardino massacre, and that we can’t solve our largest problems if we’re constantly bouncing around from one smaller thing to the next. (The corporations and the plutocrats who own and love them don’t want us to solve our largest problems, of course, since they are our largest problems.)

Billary Clinton just doesn’t excite me. Not only am I intimately familiar with her center-right/Repugnican-Lite record, but her rhetoric is so designed to appeal to and not to offend as many people as possible (including the Wall Street weasels who continue to give her campaign cash) that most of it is lifeless and uninspiring.

But that is lost on the Clintonistas, the Billarybots, I know.

Again, I don’t think that the race has changed based upon tonight’s debate. The race remains a two-way race between Bernie and Billary, the real Democrat and the Democrat in name only, respectively. If tonight’s debate helped either of them more than the other, my hunch is that it boosted Bernie a bit more than it did Billary, as for a long time now, I surmise, he’s had significantly more room for growth in support than she has had.

I think it’s telling that the only candidate who got booed tonight was Martin O’Malley, when he prickishly made his ageist comment. Could it be a harbinger of his dropping out? I wish, but, alas, it probably isn’t.

Perhaps tonight’s biggest takeaway message for me is Nate Silver’s statement that of course Bernie Sanders can win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Let us hope that Bernie does — and finally drives that long-overdue stake through the cold and slimy hearts of Billary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the many, many other DINOs everywhere.

*Fact check: Slate.com notes:

… Clinton’s statement that Sanders “voted for regime change” in Libya is questionable, since Congress didn’t vote on the issue, which was part of the whole problem: The Obama administration just announced late in the afternoon one day that it would establish a no-fly zone in Libya. (The Sanders campaign believes Clinton is referring to this nonbinding resolution that basically said Qaddafi is terrible and should go.)

Because the ABC moderators were frequently awful, Sanders never got an opportunity to respond. But he didn’t seem too upset with that, either. Later in the night, when the issue came up again, Sanders again didn’t jump in to defend himself against Clinton’s charge. …

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Haters’ minds are in the toilet, as usual

Updated below (on Saturday, November 9, 2013) 

This is what it’s about — not about horny heterosexual boys trying to get at the heterosexual girls in the girls’ bathrooms, as the wingnuts blatantly are lying about a California law that protects transgender public-school students. But even that said, the law is about a lot more than the bathroom, anyway.

In July, the California state Legislature passed a piece of legislation titled AB (Assembly Bill) 1266, which California Gov. Jerry Brown signed on August 12.

AB 1266, which is not long, can be read in its entirety here.

AB does at least a few things where the biological sex and the gender identification of public-school students are concerned.

To me, perhaps the biggest substantive change that the new law makes is that it mandates that “A school district may not require a pupil of one sex to enroll in a particular class or course, unless the same class or course is also required of a pupil of the opposite sex.”

If I understand English correctly, that means that public schools in California may not have sex-segregated and sex-specific courses. When I was in junior high school (in Arizona), for instance, all seventh-grade male students were required to take shop, but no female students ever were required to take shop, and all seventh-grade female students were required to take home economics, but no male students ever were required to take home ec.

At my junior high school, which was comprised only of seventh- and eighth-graders, eighth-graders could take shop or home ec, regardless of their sex. Seventh-graders, though, had no choice, but were funneled into shop or into home ec solely based upon their sex.

Under AB 1266, in California, such sex-segregated class requirements — boys must take shop and girls must take home ec — are no longer allowed (again, if I understand English correctly).

AB 1266 also proclaims that “Any school personnel acting in a career counseling or course selection capacity to a pupil shall affirmatively explore with the pupil the possibility of careers, or courses leading to careers, that are nontraditional for that pupil’s sex.”

I remember the principal of my junior high school summoning a bunch of us seventh-grade boys into his office after we’d signed up to take home economics the next year. We’d already taken our required one year of shop,  and, not wanting to take a second year of shop in eighth grade, we signed up to take home economics instead.

I remember the principal trying to talk us out of taking home ec. A few of us boys caved in to his pressure, but most of us (including myself) took home ec anyway. (I am gay, but most of the other boys who also decided to take home ec instead of another year of shop were not, to my knowledge, also gay.)

I don’t remember the principal’s exact “argument” (this was in the early 1980s…), but, in retrospect, my guess is that it was his personal belief that boys shouldn’t take home ec, and so he was going to try to dissuade us from doing so. (No, taking home ec did not “make” me gay. That was a pre-existing condition, so to speak.)

Had AB 1266 been the law of Arizona at that time, it would have been illegal for the principal to try to dissuade me and the other boys from taking home ec; he wouldn’t legally have been able to try to shove his own backasswards gender-role biases down our throats. (And had AB 1266 been the law of Arizona at the time, of course, I wouldn’t have been forced to take shop, which I hated, unless the girls were forced to take it, too.)

So I’m happy that today’s public-school students in California are set not to have to experience what I did, which was having backasswards/conservative/wingnutty gender roles shoved down my fucking throat.

I write “are set” because AB 1266 is set to go into effect on January 1, 2014.

But not if the haters get their way.

They’re in the middle of a campaign to gather enough petition signatures to put AB 1266 up for a “yes” or “no” vote before California’s voters in November 2014 (this process of reversing a piece of legislation at the ballot box is called a referendum).

The haters’ deadline to turn in the required number of signatures (more than half a million of them) is within less than a week. If, after their signatures are examined, they meet the signature requirement, AB 1266 will not go into effect on January 1, but will be suspended until after the voters of the state weigh in on it in November 2014, a year from now.

The intended effect of AB 1266, that I can discern, is to make public-school students feel like it’s OK to be themselves. The intended effect of AB 1266, that I can discern, is to cut down on such problems in our public schools as gender-identification-related (and sexual-orientation-related) bullying (including, of course, physical violence), ostracism, depression, drop-outs, and yes, suicide. It’s to help make every public-school student feel safe to be who he or she is, regardless of whether he or she possesses the XY or XX chromosomes and regardless of whether he or she identifies with the gender associated with his or her chromosomes.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

In that same spirit, it does no one any injury for his or her peer to identify as a male or as a female, regardless of whether his or her peer possesses the XY or XX chromosomes. (There are some rare variants of the XY or XX chromosomal set-up, but let’s please keep this simple…) It neither picks anyone’s pocket nor breaks anyone’s leg, so to speak. (Ditto for same-sex marriage, of course.)

But this is the portion of AB 1266, the very last sentence of AB 1266, that the wingnuts have focused upon like a hate-and-ignorance-filled laser: “A pupil shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.” (Emphasis mine.)

The wording is, admittedly, vague. “Facilities” can encompass a lot. Presumably, “facilities” includes restrooms and locker rooms.

However, sexual activity isn’t supposed to be going on inside of school or public restrooms and locker rooms anyway.

You’re not supposed to be exposing yourself to others in restrooms. The last time that some male apparently exposed himself to me (he proudly displayed his erection to me, to which I did not outwardly react at all) in a men’s restroom was many years ago, and he did it at a urinal, so that he could have plausible deniability, apparently. My point is that other males just aren’t showing me their junk in men’s restrooms (whether I’d want them to or not), and I assume that in women’s restrooms, too, women aren’t exposing themselves to each other.

So I don’t understand how it hurts anyone should a transgender student use the restroom of the gender the student identifies with. I can, however, see a problem with, say, forcing a male-to-female transgender student to use a restroom that is restricted for use only by biological males. Maybe this student will avoid using the boys’ restroom like the plague in order to avoid being beaten up.

I can see that because, unlike the wingnuts, I possess a degree of fucking empathy.

Communal (versus individual) showers in public schools are, in my opinion, a bad idea (the film versions of “Carrie” aside) — we should afford our students their privacy, just as we adults want our privacy — and so that shouldn’t be an issue anyway, but, on that note, let me say that I recall, in junior-high-school P.E., being rather aroused by my naked male classmates, with whom I was forced to take communal showers. (Luckily, I never got an erection, if memory serves. [Yeah, that’s something that I think that I’d remember, given the homophobia of that time and place…])

The wingtards who falsely paint AB 1266 as allowing horny (straight) boys to take showers with girls and to use their restrooms overlook the fact that gay male students and lesbian students routinely take showers with and share restrooms with members of the sex to which they are attracted. Indeed, non-heterosexual students don’t have the option of showering with or using the restroom of the sex to which they are not attracted. And this has been the case forever. Duh.

AB 1266, if it stands — if it is not overturned by the voters (who tend to be significantly more trans-phobic than homophobic) — does have details to be worked out. For instance, what would be the criteria for a public school to have to acknowledge that a student is transgender? Would the student have to dress as and act as the gender the student claims? Or would the student’s word be enough? Would a psychological evaluation have to be done to determine that yes, indeed, this student is transgender?

And, of course, how would post-P.E. showers be worked out in schools that for some reason still have communal showers?

But these details are worth working out, because no student should experience discrimination that makes his or her getting a decent education difficult to even impossible.

AB 1266 is about much, much more than (presumably straight, horny) boys using the girls’ bathrooms (for sexual kicks), but, just as the wingnuts lie through their venom-filled fangs about same-sex marriage, which neither picks anyone’s pocket nor breaks anyone’s leg, the wingnuts lie about AB 1266.

Wingnut Randy Thomasson, for instance, of the Campaign for Children and Families (which sure sounds nice, like the Campaign for Puppies and Kittens), proclaims, on his hate group’s website (yes, the Southern Poverty Law Center says that Thomasson’s organization is a hate group), SaveCalifornia.com:

If you’re like me, you’re angry about the Democrats’ new law requiring transsexual school bathrooms on every public school campus.

As you know, AB 1266 — cobbled together by homosexual-bisexual-transsexual activists, the immoral teachers’ unions, and their Democrat [sic] state representatives, who control California state government — forces all K-12 government schools to permit biological boys into girls’ restrooms, showers, clubs, and sports teams, and biological girls into boys’ restrooms, showers, clubs, and sports teams. …

That is, of course, a wildly gross exaggeration of AB 1266’s actual intent, “to permit biological boys into girls’ restrooms, showers,” etc., and to permit “biological girls into boys’ restrooms, showers,” etc.

Thomasson’s manipulative, lying rhetoric Orwellianly doesn’t even allow you to consider the fact, the reality, that there are biological females who consider themselves to be males and vice-versa. No, the “Democrat” Party, you see, just wants to turn our public schools into sex orgies! After all, we all know how “immoral” those teachers’ unions are!

Yes, this is hate speech. This is language that, as the Southern Poverty Law Center correctly states, increases the likelihood of hate crimes being directed at a certain group (in this case, non-gender-conforming individuals [and non-heterosexuals, too]).

I hope that the haters don’t get enough valid signatures on their hateful referendum. If they do, just as was the case with Proposition Hate (which Thomasson supported also, of course), at the minimum, millions of dollars will be blown on the ballot-measure campaigning.

And while I’d love to think that a majority of California’s voters would uphold AB 1266 if it went to the November 2014 ballot, as I have noted, the typical American these days unfortunately is more accepting of a gender-conforming non-heterosexual than he or she is of a non-gender-conforming individual, especially a transgender individual.

“Gay is the new black,” left-wing radio show host Randi Rhodes was saying almost a decade ago, when George W. Bush used same-sex marriage as a huge wedge issue in his 2004 “re”-election campaign (even though his campaign manager at that time, Ken Mehlman, is gay [Mehlman, whose treason I will never forgive, came out in 2010]).

We’ve come a considerable way on equality for gay men and lesbians since then. Illinois just this week became the 15th state (in addition to the District of Columbia and some other jurisdictions within states) to legalize same-sex marriage, and ding, dong, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) is dead, and so is the euphemistically named “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

But in most jurisdictions of the United States it’s still wide-open season on transgender individuals, and AB 1266 is a step toward the realization of actual liberty and actual justice for all — an idea and an ideal that the wingnutty, treasonous haters always have hated.

Update (Saturday, November 9, 2013):

In case you doubt anything that I wrote, above know that yesterday, in front of a local store, I saw a stupid white man, a “tea-party”-looking type, collecting anti-AB 1266 petition signatures. His hand-drawn sign, which he’d affixed to his table, called for “no co-ed bathrooms,” which is not, of course, the heart and soul of AB 1266, and hilariously, he also had written on his sign, “boys in boys and girls in girls,” which sure looked like an advocacy of homosexuality to me, but which meant “boys in boys’ bathrooms and girls in girls’ bathrooms.” (These are the same fucktards, of course, who didn’t know what “teabagging” means…)

Anyway, this asshole, of course, was totally misrepresenting AB 1266, and so when he shouted to me and my same-sex partner as we passed by his table, “All you have to do is sign [the petition]!”, I remarked to him, “I have read the law. You are totally misrepresenting it.”

To this he had no response, which is not a surprise, since the use of words isn’t his strong suit. (Lying and hating are his talents.)

If you think that non-gender-conforming students don’t have any significant problems in our public schools, know that in Oakland this past week, a 16-year-old thug set fire to the skirt that an 18-year-old was wearing while the latter was riding a public bus. The 18-year-old, whose birth name is Luke Fleischman, reportedly considers him-/herself neither male nor female, but “agender” or of “nonbinary gender,” and goes by the name Sasha.

Sasha now is in a burn unit in San Francisco with second- and third-degree burns. (I would contribute to Sasha’s recovery fund, but they’ve met their goal and aren’t accepting any more donations right now.)

This shit happened right here in California, and it’s exactly this kind of shit that AB 1266 was meant to stop.

But the “tea-party” traitors and their ilk are perfectly OK with gender-conformity-related persecution, even such persecution of minors, continuing. (Because Jesus and God want it that way!)

But probably more common that such attacks as the one on Sasha are such incidents as the eighth-grader in Kansas who recently was suspended from school for carrying a purse. Reports a local news outlet:

A 13-year-old Kansas eighth grader says he was suspended from school for carrying a purse.

Skylar Davis says the Vera Bradley purse is his form of expression. He adds that girls carry purses, so he should be able to do the same. Skylar’s vice-principal disagreed and told him to stop carrying the bag.

When Skylar refused, he was suspended. His mother questions the suspension because she found no mention of bags or purses in the school handbook.  She also questions the timing since Skylar has been carrying the bag since August.

The school has not commented on the suspension.

So fuck, not only do our non-gender-conforming students have to take prejudice, discrimination and abuse from their peers, who at least perhaps can be at least partially excused for their actions because of their immaturity, but our non-gender-conforming students have to experience such treatment even from the so-called “adults” whose duty it is to foster their well-being. (This news story, by the way, leads me to believe that very little has changed in many if not most American public schools since my bigoted asshole of a principal in junior high school tried to talk me out of taking home economics.)

I hope that Skylar’s family sues the school for the suspension that was based upon prejudice, discrimination and bigotry. And the chauvinistic vice principal needs to be reprimanded at the very least, and such suspensions need to cease and desist.

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Documentary ‘Bully’ flawed but spurs vital conversation

Film review

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Kelby is one of the bullied students who had a strong family and friend support system in "Bully."

Alex and Kelby, above, are two of the victims of school bullying who are featured in The Weinstein Company’s documentary “Bully.” Alex, who was born prematurely, in the documentary is portrayed as being called “Fishface” and routinely physically assaulted at school and on the school bus, and Kelby left her school because of very apparently coordinated anti-lesbian discrimination. Below is 18-year-old Sawyer Rosenstein (who is not featured in “Bully”), whose school bully put him in a wheelchair when he was 12 years old. Sawyer and his family just settled with the board of the New Jersey school district for more than $4 million. In the settlement the school board denies that the school failed to protect Sawyer, even though its failure to protect him is quite fucking obvious.

The documentary “Bully” should be required viewing for every American, even those who, like me (a gay man), don’t have a son or daughter in a public school and (most likely) never will.

“Bully” is not only about how cruel and abusive some students can be toward other students, but it’s about how chronically victimized students routinely are failed by the adults in their lives who are supposed to foster and to protect them — not just by school teachers and school administrators, but also by their parents.

An assistant principal featured in “Bully” especially is clueless and worthless — she’s a baby boomer, and it’s all about the baby boomers, so there you go.

In one scene, the assistant principal forces the victim to shake the victimizer’s hand, as though that superficial action were any true solution to the long-term problem of the one student chronically bullying the other. The assistant principal in this incident apparently makes the common, unthinking person’s error in basically asserting that whenever there is a conflict, both sides must be equally guilty. (Actually, that bullshit belief just comes out of the sheer laziness to actually sort it all out and see who truly is at fault, but instead to just try to sweep it all under the carpet.)

In another scene, when a couple of parents come to the assistant principal after having viewed actual video footage of their child’s being seriously, violently bullied on the school bus, the assistant principal (again, a baby boomer) surreally manages to make it all about herself, even whipping out a photo of her grandbaby, stating that of course she cares about all of our babies (of course, the student who is being bullied is not an infant).

The assistant principal also declares that she has ridden that bus herself and that there is no problem whatsoever on the bus. Never mind the facts that there is video footage of the serious problems with violent bullying on that bus and that of course the students are going to behave themselves on the bus when the assistant principal is on board.

What the fuck? With brazenly incompetent, self-interested school administrators like these in our schools, administrators who are more interested in playing politics and in portraying a false portrait of how things are rather than actually being responsible to the students in their care, no fucking wonder bullying is such a problem.

It’s not just the school administrators, of course. The United States of America’s number one spending priority is not its schools, but is the bloated-beyond-belief military-industrial complex.

If enough Americans truly cared about what was going on inside our schools, our schools would be much, much better — including being adequately staffed so that incidents of bullying would be reduced significantly. We have the resources to greatly improve our students’ lives; it’s not a lack of resources, but it’s a lack of caring, including a nationwide public apathy that just allows the powers that be to steal our tax dollars and spend them not on what we need, such as good, safe schools, health care and environmental protection, and to take care of the least among us, but to blow our tax dollars on the military-industrial complex, which is not about defense, but which is about making filthy, treasonously rich swine even richer than they already are through such avenues as colossal military contracting waste and waging bogus wars for corporate expansion, such as how Iraq has been opened to the profiteering of Big Oil via the illegal and immoral Vietraq War.

“Bully” raises these important issues, at least indirectly, but as a documentary is flawed.

“Bully” focuses on bullying that has occurred in public schools in the Southern and Midwestern states of Iowa, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Georgia, and ignores bullying that happens elsewhere in the nation. Bullying is a national problem. My guess is that it’s significantly worse in the red states than it is in the blue states, but it happens eveywhere.

“Bully” probably focuses too much on one child, the 12-year-old Alex, who was born prematurely and who, while he’s an affable kid, is different from the others (who call him “Fishface”) and who thus is bullied. That said, Alex’s life is an excellent example of a child who has been failed by most of the adults in his life, not only by his bus driver and his draw-droppingly awful assistant principal, but even by his own father, who advises him to just fight back, even though Alex is fairly slight and probably can’t effectively fight back physically.

Alex’s father tells him that if he doesn’t fight back, his younger sister will be bullied, too — and that’s putting way too much pressure and responsibility upon a minor, and letting the adults continue in their dereliction of duty.

Even Alex’s mother, who apparently is the most genuinely concerned about him, probably should have concerned herself more about what was happening to him at school and on the school bus before she found out through the documentarians’ film footage.

Another flaw of “Bully” is that while we don’t need grotesque details, it sure would be nice to be told in more detail why, exactly, some of the victims of bullying-induced suicide took their own lives. The young man named Tyler, for example. Why was he bullied? Was he gay or suspected to be gay? In “Bully” we are told a lot about Tyler, who hanged himself in his bedroom closet at age 17, but we’re not really told about why he was bullied.

For the most part, “Bully” doesn’t tell us what to think, but lets us come to our own conclusions. The story of Ja’Maya, a black teen who says that she only brought her mother’s handgun with her on her school bus because she wanted to scare the kids who had been bullying her, reeks of racism/white supremacism as we watch yet another stupid white male, baby-boomer sheriff — who perhaps never has been a victim of bullying himself, but perhaps has been a bully his entire life (bullies are, after all, drawn to law enforcement) — declare that no amount of bullying could justify what Ja’Maya did, and we are left with the sense that if Ja’Maya were, say, a white male jock instead of a 14-year-old black female, the “criminal” “justice” system where she lives would have treated her very differently.

Kelby, the 16-year-old lesbian who is featured in “Bully” is eloquent and intelligent and strong, but “Bully” probably doesn’t say enough about the bullying that happens to gay and lesbian and non-gender-conforming students, who comprise probably the most-bullied group of students.

“Bully” should be an invitation for us not only to declare jihad upon bullying in our public schools, but to tackle the bullying that happens in our workplaces as well. In many if not even most workplaces, bullying occurs on a regular basis. The belief that adulthood in and of itself automatically erases the dynamics that we saw in our public school days is a fucking myth.

The perpetrators of bullying in the workplace know better than to get physically abusive/violent in most cases, but verbal abuse/harassment, sexual harassment/sexual abuse and the abuse of power can make the workplace just as hostile as a public school. And just like bullies in school are careful about bullying when no one in authority is present, workplace bullies most often do their deeds when there is no one who might do something about their bullying is around.

Hopefully more documentaries about bullying will be made, although after “Bully,” school administrators might be much less willing to appear on camera.

Stories of bullying abound, such as the current news story about Sawyer Rosenstein, who became paralyzed from the waist down when a bully at school punched him when he was 12 years old. Sawyer, now 18, is in a wheelchair and just settled with the board of the New Jersey public school district for $4.2 million.

Admittedly, most individuals who are punched don’t become paralyzed — Sawyer apparently was the unfortunate victim of a freak medical event (a blood clot) — but Sawyer’s case illustrates how seriously dangerous bullying can be.

At least three months before his bully put him in a wheelchair Sawyer had informed his school’s administrators that he was being bullied, but even after Sawyer’s life-changing injury at the hands of his bully, msnbc.com reports,

The [New Jersey public school district’s] board denied [in its settlement statement] allegations that it or its employees had “failed or compromised its responsibility to develop and to implement effective policies and procedures to protect the safety and rights” of the school community, … noting that the district “prides itself for the role which it has played in recognizing and developing an awareness of the dangers of bullying, intimidation and harassment in the school setting.”

Bullying can’t be addressed if school administrators, in order to save their own skins, won’t even fucking acknowledge it.

It’s our own collective fault, however, that brazenly incompetent and self-interested school administrators like these remain in power and that our schools don’t have more resources, such as adequate staffing to supervise students, to combat bullying.

And until school administrators and teachers stop saying that it’s the parents’ responsibility, and parents stop saying that it’s the schools’ responsibility, and school administrators stop saying that it’s law enforcement’s reponsibility, and law enforcement stops saying that it’s the schools’ responsibility — and all of us (even those of us without children of our own) take responsibility for the well-being of our young people — our public schools will continue to be more like prisons than like places of learning and personal growth.

My grade: B-

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Bill would make LGBT individuals visible in California public schools

The California state Legislature has passed a bill that requires the state’s public schools to teach about the contributions that non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming Americans have made to the nation — and the wingnuts, predictably, are agog.

Funny, though, how it’s perfectly OK for the Repugnican-Tea-Party-majority members of the Texas Board of Education to dictate that state’s public school curricula — among many other things, the Texas board last year voted to replace all references to “capitalism” with “free-enterprise system” (since capitalism, in which the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer, is growing more and more unpopular these days) and to rewrite history to reflect that the alcoholic, self-aggrandizing witch hunter Joseph McCarthy wasn’t such a bad guy after all — but it’s “socialist” “tyranny” or the like (indeed, the McCarthy-loving Ann Cunter would call it downright “demonic”) for the Democratic majority in the California Legislature to dictate California’s public school curricula.

It’s only “brainwashing” when the Democrats do it, you see.

One Repugnican Tea Party California Assemblyman said of the pro-LGBT education legislation, “As a Christian, I am deeply offended” that the “homosexual agenda” would be taught in the state’s public schools.

As a non-Christian, I am offended that the so-called “Christians” — the “Christo”fascists — believe that it’s appropriate for our public schools to be conducted like “Christian” schools. What if the Muslims or the Jews wanted Islam or Judaism pushed in our public schools? How would the so-called “Christians” like that?

And the “homosexual agenda”? First of all, we don’t call ourselves “homosexuals” — only the homo-haters call us “homosexuals” — and secondly, our agenda is that of equal human and civil rights. (The “homosexual agenda” to the right-wing fascists, I do believe, is that we “homosexuals” have the goal of “making” everyone homosexual. [Of course, the actual heterosexual agenda is to “make” everyone heterosexual, but I digress…])

Gay Democratic California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco stated of the pro-LGBT education legislation, “I don’t want to be invisible in a textbook,” echoing the words of a (wise) Latina Texas Board of Education member who reportedly last year stormed out of a board meeting after the white-majority board refused to include more Latinos in the curricula, even though Texas is second only to California in the number of Latinos who live there: “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.”  

The Democratic view of public education is that public education should reflect our nation’s diversity. Our children, after all, need to be taught how their world is, not how some wingnutty ideologues believe the world should be.

On that note, the Repugnican Tea Party view of public education is that public education should perpetuate, as long as is possible, the unjust, oppressive domination of the entire nation by the minority of those who are right wing, white, (presumably) heterosexual and gender-conforming, and “Christian.”

Determining what should and what should not be taught in our public schools inherently is a politically charged process, but if I had children, I sure the hell wouldn’t cripple them, possibly for life, by sending them to schools that don’t teach how the world is, but that teach how some ignorant and bigoted, white supremacist, patriarchal and misogynist, heterosexist “Christo”fascists — who, thankfully, are a dying breed — would like the world to be.

I hope that California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, signs the bill to require that the contributions of us non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming Americans are taught in our public schools. It’s the right thing to do.

P.S. For more context, this is from The Associated Press:

California law already requires [public] schools to teach about women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor. The Legislature over the years also has prescribed specific lessons about the Irish potato famine and the Holocaust, among other topics.

SB48 [the LGBT education bill] would require, as soon as the 2013-2014 school year, the California Board of Education and local school districts to adopt textbooks and other teaching materials that cover the contributions and roles of sexual minorities.

The legislation leaves it to local school boards to decide how to implement the requirement. It does not specify a grade level for the instruction to begin.

So all that the LGBT education legislation does is add LGBT individuals to a curricula of diversity that already is mandated by state law.

I love living in California, where diversity is honored, not shit and pissed upon.

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(Revised:) Mike Huckabee wins the White House!

Repugnican Tea Party douchebag Mike Huckabee announced last night that he isn’t running for president in 2012, but since he’s busy helping to rewrite U.S. history in order to indoctrinate the youngins, hell, he can just write right now that he won the 2012 presidential election and that he was the nation’s Best! President! Ever!

Many others have covered Huckabee’s participation in the selling of really bad cartoons on “American history” for home-schooled kids (such as here and here, and Rachel Maddow has covered it too). The cartoons are so fucking bad that they appear to be parodies by the creators of “South Park,” but oh, they’re not parodies…

The episode that predictably deifies Ronald Reagan (which notes, among other things, that “he worked against Communism in Hollywood” [not that he was a McCarthyite]) has this nice little image:

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Yes, that appears to me to be a knife-wielding, menacing mulatto. In the video he apparently commands the good little white kids (who have access to a time machine, but of course as long as we’re still anti-science we’ll never get to that point): “Give me your money!” Subtle!

(If I had written the little video, I might have had the good little white kids retort: “First show us your birth certificate!”)

The Orwellian right-wing attempt to rewrite U.S. history is nothing new. Glenn Beck has the online “Beck University,” and its home page proclaims, “LEARN REAL AMERICAN HISTORY.” (Also on the home page is a link to a nice little video of Glenn titled “Presidents You Should Hate,” because Glenn’s a good little Mormon boy and God wants him to hate and to tell you whom to hate [you have to subscribe to the website to get Glenn’s God-given insight, though…]).

One of “Beck U”’s “professors” — and all of his “professors” appear to be middle-aged to old white men, shockingly — is David Barton, a white wingnut who has thought himself qualified enough to write on rewrite black American history:

I’m thinking that maybe Anita Bryant should write a book on gay and lesbian American history. Perhaps Maggie Gallagher could take some time out of her crusade against marriage between any two consenting adults to be a co-author of the enlightening, setting-the-record-straight (wink wink) historical account.

The radical-right-wing attempt to rewrite U.S. history is chilling, but while I don’t want to underestimate the radical right’s harm to the nation and to the world, I can’t see a day when their “history” ever becomes mainstream. True, our mainstream U.S. history taught to public schoolchildren is whitewashed as it is, more or less teaches our children that the U.S. never can do any wrong (even the many, many episodes of the oppression of minorities are portrayed as just little potholes in the Road to Freedom, you see), but Huckabee’s and Beck’s brand of U.S. “history” is highly unlikely to make it very far outside of its apparent target audience of home-schooling parents.

One child who is home-schooled in wingnuttery is a tragic loss — not only will the successfully brainwashed child be unable to function in a world in which his or her backasswards beliefs are in the minority, but the world will have lost a fully functional human being — but the percentage of parents who would expose their children to stupid white male propaganda thankfully remains small. Most parents want their children to be well-adjusted, functional, productive adults.

Anyway, Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and a former Southern Baptist pastor, has indicated that God doesn’t want him to run for president, but I think that even Huckabee, as off of his rocker as he is, knows that his ilk is a dying breed and that he can’t win the White House. White people who hate non-whites, non-“Christians,” non-heterosexuals and non-Americans and who believe that women should be subservient to men are finding it increasingly difficult to succeed on a national political stage because their numbers are decreasing.

The Internet, too, while it contains a lot of garbage, also has made it increasingly difficult for stupid white men and their supporters to keep the masses ignorant by keeping information unavailable to them. The wingnuts no longer can stem the flow of information as easily as they have in the past.

The wingnuts can put all of the revisionist books and videos out there that they want. I wish them luck in “protecting” their offspring from being exposed to what the saner members of the much larger world believe. This is exactly what they want to do, of course, and thus, home-schooling.

This is, of course, the largest logical weakness of such oppressively closed systems: If the system is so accurate, so true, so right, then why must it shut out the rest of the world? Why must it be so encapsulated?

Anticipating this question from the home-schooled kiddies, apparently, one of Huckabee’s “history” cartoons has one of the kiddie characters declaring (at the triumphant end of a cartoon on World War II): “What we see in here [in their time-machine travels] isn’t always the same as what we read in books or see on TV. So what? We know the truth, and that’s good enough for us!”

Wow. That says so much more than I could continue to say right now.

But I will say good fucking riddance to Mike Huckabee, who never will be president of the United States of America* — except perhaps in his really bad propagandistic cartoons for the kiddies.

*The Associated Press notes:

Ed Rollins, who chaired Huckabee’s 2008 [presidential] campaign and had been talking with fundraisers about a 2012 Huckabee bid, said it would be difficult [for Huckabee] to find another opportunity like this.

“It was all there for him,” Rollins said.

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Red scare redux

 

The Cold War still rages on for some (namely, those who are still living in the 1950s).

This book, a must-have for any home-schooling parent or parent thinking about home schooling, actually is in amazon.com’s top-100-selling books as I type this sentence.

Wow.

It’s interesting. When the wingnuts can’t find any other argument against or criticism of Barack Obama, they resort to racism. When they can’t find any other argument against or criticism of the left, they resort to red-baiting.

Yup. For the treasonous troglodytes among us, the Cold War still rages on, and when they can’t win an argument against a left-winger, they resort to visceral denunciations such as “Communist” or “Socialist” or one of their variations. It’s the adult playground equivalent of calling your opponent a doodoo head.

For all of their blather of “freedom” and “liberty,” the members of the treasonous Repugnican Tea Party don’t want our children taught that any other socioeconomic system outside of capitalism is even a remote possibility. Didn’t the actual Communists absolutely forbid that any other socioeconomic system be taught to their children? Didn’t they also wish to brainwash their children, to shackle their minds? So the actual Communists and the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are different how?

(Similarly, the members of the Taliban and other “Islamofascists” and the “Christo”fascists here at home have an awful lot in common. The content of their delusional belief systems differ, but their hypocrisy, self-righteousness and their ignorance and evil are the same.)  

Capitalism is a key method of keeping peoples in bondage, so of course the members of the radical right defend it. Especially as the excesses of capitalism have pushed the American empire to collapse, and Americans just might be considering other socioeconomic systems right about now, those who benefit from capitalism on crack want to preserve the status quo that benefits them but harms the majority of the American people.

Capitalism is based upon the idea that when thievery and virtual slavery are committed in the name of capitalism (or one of its variations, such as business), they are good. Indeed, the nexus between capitalism and “Christo”fascism, which also teaches that evil is “good” when “Christians” commit it, is so strong that the two virtually are interchangeable (along with militarism, because God and Jesus love it when we slaughter us some more Muslims!).

Capitalism is based upon the idea that getting filthy rich by paying your employees as little as you can get away — by stealing the lion’s share of the actual value of their labor from them — and by charging your customers as much as you can get away with — by stealing as much from them as you can, too — is good. The key belief of capitalism is that screwing over your fellow Americans (and others) is good. That’s an awfully weak premise for a socioeconomic system, and the capitalists know it.

This blatantly greedy, selfish thievery that is capitalism isn’t called thievery or exploitation or slavery or even wage slavery or the like. It’s called “initiative” or “hard work” or the like, even though most of the rich and super-rich among us don’t actually do much work. (I don’t count protecting and expanding one’s own personal empire as work. I count as work as doing something that is productive, that benefits others.)

But to try to keep us serfs from going after them with pitchforks and torches, the plutocrats repeat this narrative that the rich and the super-rich are rich and super-rich because they are hard workers, and those of us who aren’t rich (the vast majority of us) aren’t rich because we are lazy. And the plutocrats have billions and billions of dollars with which to reinforce this propagandistic bullshit. It’s a good bet that their money is behind the book that is pictured above.

It is critical for those of us who oppose the right-wing traitors’ Orwellian attempt to snuff out Americans’ ability to even think that a better, more just and more equitable socioeconomic system is available to us to counter their red-baiting bullshit when we see it.

If I had a nickel for every time some right-wing fucktard threw the epithets “Commie” or “Socialist” at me, I’d be as rich as the Koch brothers.

But I don’t shrink away from the mindless red-baiting, which is meant to intimidate and to thus shut down the debate.

Yes, I am a socialist. I believe that the best socioeconomic system for the United States of America would be democratic socialism. It’s pretty fucking clear what runaway capitalism has done to the nation (and to the planet, with its melting ice caps), yet the treasonous, selfish individuals who are guilty of economic malpractice (and treason, because they have harmed their own nation) are the same ones who are crowing that what we need now is even more of their brand of capitalism.*

Capitalism is eating itself alive, like a serpent swallowing its own tail. Capitalism is dying because it’s a dysfunctional, defunct socioeconomic model. It brings misery for the masses and excesses for the few.

This isn’t opinion. This is just fucking fact. It’s quite measurable and observable. And it’s not just evident, but is fucking obvious, all around you.

Our children need to be taught facts and reality, not right-wing bullshit. Our duty to our children is to give them the knowledge and the tools that they need in order to make their lives and the world better. Trying to perpetuate the ignorance of the past — such as “creationism”; whitewashed versions of American history that make the conservative, “Christian,” presumably heterosexual white man the triumphant victor and keep women, non-whites, non-heterosexuals, non-“Christians” and other historically oppressed groups down; Bible-based homophobia (and other Bible-based hogwash); anti-science, pro-business/pro-profiteering stances such as that climate change isn’t real; and the assertion that any discussion of a socioeconomic system outside of capitalism is “Commie” (which we can’t even define correctly but just “know” is something really, really bad) — is to cripple our children, is to diminish their chances for success in a rapidly evolving world, a world that continues to evolve around us whether we want to evolve with it or not, whether we want to reach for the stars or whether we want to retreat into our caves (you know, to go back to the “good old days,” such as the 1950s, when women, non-whites, non-heterosexuals and non-“Christians” knew their place!).

And I feel sorry for our public-school teachers, who routinely come under fire from ignorant, backasswards, wingnutty parents for not passing down those parents’ abject ignorance and backasswardsness to all of our children.

The effect of this political pressure and oppression from the treasonous fucktards on the right is that all of our public-school children get, at best, a watered-down education that instead of teaching them to strive for solutions to our problems only teaches them to perpetuate our problems, which only ensures the collapse of an American empire that cannot remain competitive in an increasingly globalizing world.

*Amazon.com notes that Joe Kernan “is the co-anchor of CNBC’s longest-running program, the top-rated morning show ‘Squawk Box.’ Before television, he was a successful stockbroker with top firms such as Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney.” So a former Wall Street weasel sings the praises of capitalism. Oh, what a shock! And amazon.com notes that Blake Kernan is “a fifth-grade student” and apparently is the girl who is pictured on the book cover.

 Hey, why have children if you can’t infect and cripple them with your own sick belief system and use them to make a profit for you?

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To hell in a handbasket — on crack



This the is “vision” that the Repugnican Tea Party has for the United States of America.

The members of the Repugnican Tea Party in the U.S. House of Representatives promised to make jobs and the economy their No. 1 issue. But let’s tick off what they’ve actually “accomplished” thus far:

  • They read the U.S. Constitution to us aloud — minus those unpleasant portions about slavery, of course.
  • They have attacked Planned Parenthood and women’s rights.
  • They have attacked the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • They are engaged in a nationwide union-busting campaign that benefits only their corporate and plutocratic benefactors pimps.
  • They have attacked our public servants, even our public-school teachers.
  • They have attacked National Public Radio, and got the scalp of NPR’s president and CEO.
  • Tomorrow they are to began McCarthyesque hearings on what a danger to the nation Muslim Americans are.

In short, the Repugnicans in the House have done nothing substantial toward bringing about national economic recovery.

They know that this is what they should be addressing, however, because they frequently are using the economy as their bullshit excuse to fulfill their Wingnut Wish List.

We can’t afford NPR, they claim, when in fact, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (NPR’s parent) — and Planned Parenthood — get a fucking pittance from the federal government compared to the bloated military-industrial complex, which is draining our nation of its lifeblood, a huge threat to the continued existence of our nation. (Many other empires collapsed due to military overextension and concomitant domestic rot.) Our public servants, too, get a negligible portion of the federal budget, and they’re worth every penny of their underpaid salaries.

The treasonous Repugnican Tea Party House members’ intent in these aforementioned instances isn’t to save us money — it’s to censor/silence NPR (and the Public Broadcasting System), to deny women their right to self-determination of their own fucking uteri, and to destroy every last governmental hurdle to complete corporate control of the nation.

It’s about the wingnuts in the U.S. House of Representatives throwing huge chunks of red meat to their base of plutocrats and “Christo”fascists. (The upcoming House hearings on “the Muslim problem” — remember Adolf Hitler’s “Jewish problem”? — especially are an early Christmas gift to the “Christo”fascists.)

If the Repugnican Tea Party members of the House were serious about tackling the nation’s federal budget deficit that “President” George W. Bush created by giving tax breaks to the rich and the super-rich while wasting hundreds of billions of our tax dollars in bogus warfare, they would make the rich and the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes and they would seriously, meaningfully cut the bloated budget of the military-industrial complex.

Instead, the Repugnican Tea Party is on a campaign to make the United States of America more and more like a third-world nation:

  • Get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency — so that climate change accelerates, making the entire planet resemble the planet in the movies “The Road” or “WALL-E” or “Idiocracy.”
  • Get rid of Planned Parenthood and outlaw abortion — so that we have many more mouths that we can’t feed and many more consumers of the planet’s limited resources, accelerating climate change and other environmental catastrophes.
  • Privatize all of the public schools so that only the children of the rich and super-rich can get a decent education, and institute only right-wing and pro-corporate curricula in what remains of the crumbling, old public school system.
  • Destroy all of the labor unions so that the corporations have no barriers in their mistreatment and exploitation of their wage slaves.
  • Get rid of NPR and PBS — so that the only source Americans have of “news” and “information” is Faux “News” and the other right-wing, pro-corporate media.
  • Continue to ignore homelessness and continue to build gated communities, in which the rich and the super-rich live, protected by their private security thugs, while everyone else lives in crime-infested squalor.
  • Attack Muslims, literally and figuratively — so that we have perpetual enemies/“enemies” and thus perpetual warfare, a la George Orwell’s 1984.

This is some serious shit. Life as we know it — indeed, the very ability of the planet to sustain human life itself — is at stake if we, the people, don’t fight back against the traitors who spend every waking hour calculating how they can destroy us for their own selfish benefit.

We, the people, cannot depend upon the members of what excellent writer Chris Hedges calls the “liberal class” in his book  Death of the Liberal Class.

Members of the so-called liberal class* include such hypocritical cowards as the supposedly pro-labor Barack Obama, who has remained mostly silent while tens of thousands of pro-labor Wisconsinites are in their third week of protests to keep the middle class and the working class in Wisconsin alive, and Vivian Schiller, the CEO and president of NPR who, instead of holding her ground against the right-wing assault on NPR, cut and run in order to appease the right-wing fascists who are out to destroy the nation.

We’re on our own.

No one is going to save us from the fascistic onslaught that we are witnessing now — except ourselves.

*I have a problem with the term “liberal class,” since these cowardly, self-serving hypocrites aren’t actually liberal. They pay lip service to liberal ideals, but their actions and their inaction only help the right wing. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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