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The Texas Board of Education: America's Taliban.

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You should care -- a lot -- about what's going on in Texas. The decisions reached by the state BOE (Board of Education) concerning what should, and should not be, in the textbooks used in its public school classrooms also decide, to an extraordinary extent, what will be in the textbooks of 48 other states.

The rewriting of history and science to reflect the far-Right agendas of the board's membership are just some of the far-Right orientations the board agreed to recently. ("Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change" click here;emc=th) The board insisted that references to Margaret Sanger be included because "she promoted eugenics." Also insisted upon was language that would tout Ronald Reagan's "leadership in restoring national confidence," following, as it did on Jimmy Carter's weaknesses. Also to be included as essay assignments for Texas students, "describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association." The board also required consideration the contributions of "great Americans" that included Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, and William F. Buckley Jr., and that students were to compose essays noting the contributions of these Americans. Diminished to the maximum extent achievable were positive references to Thomas Jefferson, because of his Deist proposition there ought to be a "wall of separation between church and state;" a proposition the Texas board members cannot abide. (click here;emc=th) What the board intentionally dismissed out of hand, as role models for the state's large Hispanic population, were the historic contributions of Latino figures. (Personal note: In the past I have read Texas, by James Michener, T.R. Fehrenbach's Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans, and H.E. Bolton's Texas in the Middle-Eighteenth Century.) What the board is attempting is nothing short of historic genocide.

The last sentence of the above paragraph is the arrow to the heart of the matter. There are two ways to tell a lie. One is to tell it. The other is to deliberately not tell the truth. What Republicans/conservatives are attempting to do, and in large measure succeeding at, is the BIG LIE, getting Americans to accept it, and striving to inculcate it into the fiber of our youth as the truth. Bent don't matter none to these far-Right political proselytizers.

***

On Wednesday, March 10th, the House debated H.Con.Res. 248; Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan. Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), SECTION 1. REMOVAL OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES FROM AFGHANISTAN. Pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544 (c)), Congress directs the President to remove the United states Armed forces from Afghanistan --
(1) by no later than the end of the period of 30 days beginning on the day on which this concurrent resolution is adopted; or
(2) if the President determines that it is no safe to remove the United States Armed Forces before the end of that period, by no later than December 31, 2010, or such earlier date as the President determines that the Armed forces can safely be removed.


The last speaker on the issue was Rhode Island's US Representative Patrick Kennedy. (View the proceedings at http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/220880 ) The Rhode Islander's excoriating diatribe included, "Finally, if anyone wants to know where cynicism is, cynicism is where there (points at the overhead gallery) are one, two press people in this gallery. (Continuing to jab furiously into the gallery.) We're talking about Eric Massa, 24/7 on the TV, and we're talking about war and peace, three billion dollars and 1,000 lives, and no press. No Press! (More arm waving and jabbing to the gallery) You want to know why the American people are ticked, they're ticked because they're not seeing their congress doing the work that they're sent here to do. It's because of the press, the press of the United States is not covering the most significant issue of national importance, and that's the laying of lives down in the service of our country. It's despicable: the national press corps!"

***

Kennedy is one hundred percent correct concerning the miserable state of news coverage in the United States. Like it or not, it is a major player in the Big Lie, and the way to tell it that I mentioned above. For example, not a single word about what the Texas BOE was up to, and how it would affect most of America's youth, found an opening into the stories on any of the news networks; ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC . . . Just the same, however easy, however convenient it might be to blame the media for this country's astounding and tragic for a democracy level of near total ignorance, it's also not entirely true.

Each of us has a concomitant citizenship responsibility to want what may be discomfiting, what may require more than a nanosecond to digest, what may not be titillating, what may not entertain us. But, by and large, we don't want any of those things. We want simple. We want silly. We want the stories about Jay and Dave and Conan, about Tiger Woods, about some murder a thousand miles away. About anything that avoids actual thinking about what the story is actually about. "Tell me again that I'm really beautiful," the baby warthog begged its mother.

There exists no more exquisite example of competition-driven, free-market enterprise than the major televised electronic media, and no better example of solid business acumen than Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox. If folks wanted better than they were getting from Fox, or any of the others, they'd get it. The fact the vast majority of Americans cling tenaciously to Fox and its counterparts is evidence on the table they not only want exactly what they're getting, they want more of the same. The moment sufficient numbers tune into PBS is the moment they'll begin to get it.

***

I grew up in Allen Park, Michigan, next door to Dearborn, the home of Ford Motor. Like Dearborn, but about a third its population, it was an all very white suburb just a handful of miles from Tiger Stadium in Detroit. In the fall of 1951, I began Kindergarten at Lapham Elementary School and graduated in June of 1964 at Allen Park High.

Through the entirety of these 13 years not one mention was made of the fact that, under Andrew Jackson, murderous genocide was official United States policy; the Trail of Tears that removed from the southeastern states four native peoples and force-marched them to the Oklahoma Territory. Thousands perished along the tortuous route, the military escort not even permitting burial of the children and the old who died along the way, leaving the corpses to rot and become carrion for the scavenging birds, insects and other wild mammals. Remember the mantra, "the only good Injun is a dead Injun"? I do. Every Saturday cowboys and Indians matinee at the local movie house.

However we learned about slavery, we learned of it almost as an outlined abstract construct; denuded of its genuine moral depravity and human suffering -- something akin to the sterile dissection of an earthworm or frog in a 9th or 10th grade biology class. "This class, is the tongue, the glottis, small intestine, and slavery is bad because no one should own another human being." Say, human being, being a condition the South discovered, like Columbus discovering the New World, rather late, while also conveniently ignoring altogether every preexisting truth its earlier habitation destroyed utterly every allegation it had been "discovered" by Columbus.

We also learned about the Panama Canal, but not the fact that to construct it, the US deconstructed (overthrew) an entire country, Columbia, in order to do so. Never was a question entertained, whether this country had a right to overthrow another nation's government, to secure a sought commercial and military advantage. It was the age of Manifest Destiny; our god-given right, to be interpreted as "God was on our side," . . . to do just about anything we wanted.

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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No WONDER they were thrown to the lions. Looks lik... by daveys on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:25:42 AM
Texicans fought the evil non democratic Mexican Go... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 3:57:21 PM
So daveys, I take it you're ready to institute the... by Recce1 on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 8:38:56 AM
The Constitution and democracy did not come from a... by Starla Immak on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:26:18 AM
Your article shows your "conservative"education.Yo... by liberalsrock on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:54:26 AM
I take it liberalsrock that anyone who espouses an... by Recce1 on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:02:10 AM
"Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge"... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:39:15 AM
for presenting the facts! The right wing would hav... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:33:21 PM
Recce1, Yiyiyiyi...Surely thou protesteth too much... by Dak on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:00:00 PM
Like a running back, I was looking for a whole in ... by Ed Tubbs on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:34:06 PM
Tubbs wrote: "Like a running back, I was looking f... by Dak on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:53:18 PM
I'm sorry, I just can't envision you as a pastor o... by Recce1 on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:11:32 AM
I'm sorry, I just can't envision you as a pastor o... by Recce1 on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:49:39 AM
I'm sorry, I just can't envision you as a pastor o... by Recce1 on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:52:48 AM
But take away a lot of the cultural baggage on eit... by Dick Thomson on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:18:36 PM
Our 3 children attend schools in an UNRESPONSIVE ... by Julie Worley on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 12:21:48 PM
Julie, Julie, Julie . . .Why the hell did you expr... by Ed Tubbs on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 12:42:47 PM
I grew up attending public schools in Texas when p... by txfarmer on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 1:25:43 PM
and we learned just fine in an orderly and positiv... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:03:26 PM
Public schools here in Texas have become a disgrac... by Debbie Scally on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 12:59:27 PM
Face it, the last thing a "conservative" wants is ... by txfarmer on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 1:16:34 PM
Txfarmer, what is it that you object to in his kin... by Recce1 on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 8:49:46 AM
His kind is the type of person that can't accept r... by txfarmer on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:25:12 AM
Well, let me clue you and Recce1 in: "I" have a tr... by Dak on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:14:07 PM
Three states, by the sheer weight of their populat... by Ed Tubbs on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 1:37:59 PM
On this part I agree with you Mr. Tubbs. Perhaps i... by Recce1 on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 8:54:52 AM
I received my education in Texas from pre-school t... by daveys on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 2:01:38 PM
to benefit the GOP. Mr. Cancer Alley Tom Delay was... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:16:02 PM
Thank you Ed Tubbs! A good well-rounded education ... by Penel on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 2:12:25 PM
look at all of these more recent school board acti... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 3:46:17 PM
any lack in educational achievement are ignored! N... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 3:51:59 PM
The latest article from The Dallas Libertarian Exa... by Darren Wolfe on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 8:50:04 PM
the architect of the Pinochet reign of terror and ... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:29:01 PM
Make textbooks less liberal bias,they have virtual... by liberalsrock on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:00:31 AM
When I was in school as a student back in the 50'... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 9:52:00 PM
You raised some good (and uncomfortable) points. W... by txfarmer on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:20:29 PM
teaching crap to our kids while beating them is de... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 10:42:59 PM
Whenever possible, the ruling party does what it p... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:47:03 PM
What is going on in Texas and for that matter the ... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:24:47 PM
and have no kids in America, you need not comment ... by Starla Immak on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 9:51:09 AM
I may currently live and teach in China, but I als... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:07:05 AM
With all that property in various stateswe can see... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 12:18:25 PM
Mr Shaw, you do yourself a diservice with this com... by txfarmer on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 12:45:15 PM
my dander got the best of me on that one. Really t... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 8:42:02 PM
What with all that is going on, it's easy (Hell, d... by txfarmer on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 9:28:36 PM
And you too Tex!... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 10:12:35 PM
Mr. Shaw, I fail to see the correlation between my... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 11:08:07 PM
That could be construed as a very scary thought, e... by Michael Shaw on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 1:50:12 PM
I have two sons. The one who will be 22 in May is ... by Ed Tubbs on Sunday, Mar 14, 2010 at 11:30:45 PM
Like you Ed, I grew up in an environment that was ... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:29:39 AM
Well, guys, I had an Irish patriarch of a father w... by Debbie Scally on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:52:27 AM
...that perhaps this is why I developed curvature ... by daveys on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 1:03:34 AM
There is a line between disciplining a child and b... by txfarmer on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 7:59:44 AM
A democracy depends on open inquiry and cannot fun... by Bryan Emmel on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 3:58:31 AM
I'm a public school teacher of history in what use... by Kahukugirl on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 5:44:38 AM
There are five parts of "The God Delusion" by Rich... by Progessive 1 on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 7:14:24 AM
does not really exist, sorry. We are discussing a ... by Mark Sashine on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 8:15:29 AM
A National Standard for core classes would be a go... by txfarmer on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 8:41:46 AM
Why is the Texas Scool Board allowed to mess with ... by John Shriver on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 8:55:32 AM
to the Christo-idiocy of the Texas Board of Propag... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 9:45:49 AM
WOW!! In less than three hours this discussion had... by John Shriver on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM
it seems half the time the callers are people who ... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 1:39:06 PM
Too many times the police or child welfare are cal... by txfarmer on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 1:59:08 PM
Perhaps both moms and dads should stay at home wit... by Debbie Scally on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 2:08:57 PM
when kids absord everything. I'm also not trying t... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 12:31:49 PM
It's almost -- or perhaps is completely -- an exis... by Ed Tubbs on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 2:26:54 PM
I'm not trying to force my will here on anyone. Wh... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 12:56:08 PM
Michael: You must have had a great mom. So did I. ... by Debbie Scally on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 6:26:35 PM
And believe it or not, I am a staunch supporter of... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 9:16:43 PM
... and to get back to our original topic, though ... by Debbie Scally on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 9:42:34 PM
to that!... by Michael Shaw on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 2:00:31 PM
"Fair and Balanced" has a nice sounding ring to it... by Ed Tubbs on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 10:07:40 AM
As a public school teacher of 25 years, I had a si... by Dak on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 11:44:38 AM
home education. Though clearly there are some cert... by Michael Shaw on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 12:50:05 PM
Sorry to be picking on you, Michael, but the socia... by Debbie Scally on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 2:14:36 PM
should not be underestimated. Social intercourse i... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 2:10:17 PM
... there are disadvantages. But, the homeschool p... by Debbie Scally on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 6:34:04 PM
school bullying is a big problem or so it seems. I... by Michael Shaw on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 10:00:50 PM
I was a small, skinny, shy, quiet kid; I got paddl... by Ian MacLeod on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 1:52:41 PM
This article has taken on a life of its own since ... by John Shriver on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 2:31:50 PM
Pardon the long posts, but there's a lot to say ab... by Ian MacLeod on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 2:34:28 PM
Ian. Surely you jest. Not as long as we have a cor... by John Shriver on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 5:42:38 PM
But not surely. We outnumber the bastards tens of ... by Ian MacLeod on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 6:17:45 PM
The people you know who react well when given the ... by txfarmer on Monday, Mar 15, 2010 at 10:03:31 PM
To txfarmer (I'm a native Texan myself, from Flour... by Ian MacLeod on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 2:44:41 AM
Ian, I hadn't really thought of it that way, but y... by txfarmer on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 8:38:47 AM
I'm not so much worried about the voters IQ, txfar... by John Shriver on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 8:34:44 AM
Sadly, we few who demonstrate common sense are the... by txfarmer on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 8:56:06 AM
I shouldn't have invoked a dead species like commo... by John Shriver on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 9:13:30 AM
If there were any Congress Critter who didn't get ... by txfarmer on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 9:36:16 AM
don't forget our justice system is for profit like... by Michael Shaw on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 2:21:24 PM
Let's not even get started about the prison system... by John Shriver on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 4:17:04 PM
I was accused of wanting to imprison and extermina... by daveys on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:44:20 AM
I read your comment and took it as you meant it. B... by txfarmer on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 8:48:53 AM
he also privately joked about "those crazy evangli... by Michael Shaw on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 2:28:36 PM

 

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