Nel's New Day

February 13, 2022

Christian Nationalists Take Over U.S.

Last fall, Mike Flynn, the first National Security Adviser for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) who was fired in less than three weeks, said, “We have to have one religion. One national under God, and one religion under God.” Company at the “Reawaken America Tour” included Alex Jones (“the devil’s reign on this planet is coming to an end”), MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, DDT-pardoned Roger Stone, and the incessant “Let’s go, Brandon” chant.

Ohio’s GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel declared, “We should be instilling faith in the classroom, in the workplace, and everywhere in society.” Fired by DDT because he wouldn’t overturn the 2020 election, former AG Bill Barr received an award from the Catholics and blamed all the ills of society on the nation for not being Christian. The rejection of separation of church and state has joined the radicalization of violence as those searching for a theocracy supports a ”Holy War,” just like Islam jihadists.  

In the past year, Republicans, pushed by far-right Christians have rewritten the history of the January 6 insurrection, according to a report from the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Journalists and researchers found the Christian nationalism behind the January 6 insurrection drives the rewrite. Christian nationalist support for the insurrectionists doubled in the past year with support for prosecuting rioters declining by 20 percent, leading to “future potential violence.” According to Christian nationalists, the United States was created as a Christian nation with its founding documents divinely inspired. “True Americans” are “white, culturally conservative, natural-born citizens.” Almost half the people in the U.S. want to fuse Christianity and civil life.

The report explains that the movement of Christian nationalism into the mainstream came from the “Holy War” coding of the “War on Terror” after 9/11. The insurrection was filled with Christian symbols and multiple statements about God’s hand or voice leading them to break into the Capitol. Proud Boys prayed in the street as “God’s warriors.” At DDT’s rally on January 6, a group of young men, followers of White nationalist Nick Fuentes, waved “America First” flags and chanted, “Christ is King!” Fuentes’ followers use this chant at anti-vax and anti-abortion protest while holding up crucifixes as well as at the America First conference when Fuentes said America will no longer be America “if it loses its faith in Jesus Christ.” He called the U.S. “a Christian nation.” During the U.S. attack on the Capitol, insurrectionists, including Fuentes’ followers, prayed and waved banners reading “Proud American Christian.” Their philosophy includes racism, anti-Semitism, and passionate nationalism.

From believers in Christian nationalism come the lies that Antifa or Black Lives Matter caused the violence on Jan. 6 and DDT is blameless. They believe that the 2020 election was rigged, violence is necessary to save the country, and Democrats are involved in “elite child trafficking.”

A study published last September in Political Psychology shows that Republicans change their moral values to be congruous with DDT. Researchers said:

“Political leadership is moral leadership. Many voters revise even their fundamental views of what they describe as right and wrong based on their perceptions of the candidates they support. Ideas and positions that might have seemed out of bounds can become normalized very quickly if they receive support from political leaders.”

This shift can be a reason for intractable partisan conflict blocking debate: “voters from each party may not even share a common understanding of the candidates in question.” Although the study was for the 2016 election, follow-up work shows even greater polarization for Biden supporters, and “anti-democratic attitudes among Trump supporters.”

Christian nationalists are indoctrinating their students in public schools. In Huntington (WV), students were taken to an assembly during school where they were told to close their eyes, raise their arms in prayer, and turn their lives over to Christ to save themselves from eternal damnation. A Jewish student asked to leave, and the teacher told him he couldn’t because the classroom was locked. Learning of their rights, about 100 students walked out of school in protest.

Oklahoma has a pending bill permitting parents to sue teachers who provide instruction opposing the “closely held religious beliefs of students.” Parents can also demand any book on school shelves with LGBTQ content be removed. Each incident is worth $10,000—like the anti-abortion law in Texas—with a $10,000 charge for every day the book stays on the shelf. Teachers must pay the money “from personal resources” without “any assistance from individuals or groups.” Any teacher who cannot pay will be immediately fired without the right to teach in the state for five years. An offence could be teaching evolution if any students believes in creationism or forms of birth control if a student believes in abstinence. Or correctly explaining the mix of religious and non-religious Founding Fathers.  

Evangelicals have been joined by libertarian billionaires who think tax money should not be wasted on improving “the underclasses” that they “worked so hard to earn.” Put people in these two categories with white supremacist militia leaders who want to expand their white membership by “taking on authorities” and Fox propaganda makes the issue of book burning and anti-teaching a winner. Within the past few months, they have all created a non-existent moral panic leading to hundreds of GOP bills in double-digit numbers of red states to censor books and school curricula.

Accompanying those bills, many of them turned into punitive laws, is the movement to completely privatize public education like the one fighting segregation after the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Supreme Court decision ended racial segregation in public schools. Counties responded by closing their schools and opening “Christian academies,” meaning White only. These schools morphed into Ronald Reagan’s charter schools which began to dominate public education. Washington, D.C. has as many for-profit charter schools as public schools.

Former Secretary of Education and billionaires Betsy DeVos wants to destroy unionized public education because she believes any “reform” is impossible:

“Because wokeness is the left’s religion, ‘banning’ critical race theory or the 1619 Project won’t fix the problem. The liberal education establishment will simply rename, rebrand, or repackage these insidious ideas to get around so-called bans.”

Republicans specialize in creating panics: Islamophobia, birther claims against President Obama, migrant caravans heading to the southern border, “bathroom hysteria” against trans students, etc. The only losers in the current crisis are minorities and youth, and almost all students can’t vote.

The new panic against “history” and education is being twisted into “parental rights,” a strategy that Glenn Youngkin, worth $440 millionaire, used to drop himself into the Virginia gubernatorial seat. Right-wingers, especially Christian fundamentalists, don’t want young people to think for themselves; that’s why they are discouraged from attending higher education. Intellectual curiosity tends to separate from the church that wants them to be obedient to whatever the leadership claims. The “biblical parenting” movement starting in 1970 from James Dobson’s book Dare to Discipline promotes a believe in “the enforced submission of children to absolute authority.” Children are to be “trained,” not educated. Striking children is outlawed in 63 countries but “legal in all 50 states.”

The Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation led the promotion of the term “critical race theory” that outrages some parents in curriculum about racism in history and literature classes. A hate group behind the movement, the white supremacist International Organization for the Family, pushes the authoritarian and patriarchal definition of family. Originally called the World Congress of Families, it excludes any families except a married man and woman with their biological children; the man is the head of the household and the woman the bearer of children. All families must follow this pattern to prevent the “demographic winter,” caused by women in the workplace, abortion, homosexuality, and any other deviations from the “natural family.”

All these mandates are lumped under “parental rights,” a term that blocks education about history, critical thinking skills, literature and art, health education including information about sexuality and gender orientation/identity. Eliminating these elements in education removes young people’s right to expand their horizons and grow up to become healthy adults. The Christian right, however, doesn’t want children to think for themselves, even when they become adults.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the “replacement” for the brilliant jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is leading the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to turn the U.S. into a theocracy. Less than a month after her confirmation, she led the decision in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, permitting churches to spread COVID throughout the congregation in the name of “religious liberty” instead of complying with state directives for all large gatherings.     

In an earlier case Chief Justice John Roberts had stated that “an ‘unelected federal judiciary’ … lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.” No longer. As shown in the overruling of vaccine mandates, ignorant conservative justices believe they know all. And the same rulings will occur for book selection and school curricula. Gone is “a neutral law of general applicability” requiring “religious liberty” followers to follow the same laws and rules as everyone else. Religious cases are now being heard in the high court far more often than previously, many of them in shadow dockets without argument—and the rules are weighted in favor of conservatives, especially the Christian right. Thus, conservative religious objectors get exceptions, disfavored groups including “lesser” religions get fewer rights, and the separation of church and state is crumbling.

February 5, 2022

Tucker Carlson in 2024?

In order to be a valid Trumpy presidential candidates if the real thing doesn’t run in 2024, both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin have to produce results in their official capacity—a dangerous risk. Fox network’s Tucker Carlson has no other responsibility than to spew hatred, a skill he has been honing for five years on the show with his name. His rants, escalating to keep his top rating after Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) produces less shocking news since his move to Mar-a-Lago, puts him into the lead to Ground Zero Hell for the U.S.

Some samples:

Vaccinations:  Although Fox network mandates either COVID vaccinations or weekly tests for all employees, Carlson repeatedly damns vaccines with “innocent” questions, comparing mandates to medical experiments undertaken by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. He also hosts disinformation spreaders. He compares mandatory vaccinations to “Jim Crow” racial segregation laws and refuses to talk about the Fox vaccination policy.

Last spring, Carlson called mask-wearing as “repulsive—don’t do it around other people.” He said children wearing masks outdoors, as CDC recommended during the worst of the pandemic, a form of child abuse. “Call the police immediately. Contact child protective services,” Carlson ordered. He claimed that only “zealots and neurotics” or those who have to wear masks—like those wearing Kim Il-sung pins in Pyongyang.

Russia: Republicans continually call Democrats “communists,” but Carlson supports Communist Russia in its possible takeover of Ukraine, saying Russian president Vladimir Putin “just wants to keep his western borders secure.” Russia crossed Ukraine’s borders to invade and seize Ukrainian territory, but Carlson calls people who disagree with him about Russia a “moron,” neocon buffoon,” and “ignorant.” Like Russia and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Carlson opposes Ukraine joining NATO. 

Putin has already taken over Crimea; now he wants Eastern Ukraine to continue moving west in his imperialist goals.  Calling Ukraine “irrelevant” to the U.S., Carlson follows the white supremacist love for Russia. His viewers are calling lawmakers to demand that President Joe Biden support Russia in its “reasonable” takeover of Ukraine. Some in Russian media publicly question whether Carlson took “advanced training courses at the Russian Foreign Ministry.”

January 6 Insurrection: Carlson frequently hosted an Oath Keeper facing sedition conspiracy charges and describes him as a “disabled veteran.” Known as “Commander Tom,” the man was stationed outside the Capitol, ready to distribute weapons to other Oath Keepers and plotted getaway plans to Virginia for more weapons. Carlson also defended violent insurrectionists because they called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office asking for the return of items they had left behind. He falsely called Democrats the violent ones, not the right-wingers who stayed “peaceful” despite their violent attacks and made Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) grovel and apologize for calling the events on January 6 terrorism.

Critical Race Theory: Carlson made up his own definition of CRT, that it is teaching white children to be shamed, but said he’d “never figured out what critical race theory is”—even “after a year of talking about it.”

Kyle Rittenhouse: Fox and Carlson deny any direct payment to Kyle Rittenhouse to make a documentary about his exoneration for stalking and killing two men and wounding another, but the network and its show host seem to be behind the teenager’s expensive legal defense that exonerated him. Carlson had over 5 million watchers for his interview with Rittenhouse. At 18, Rittenhouse has been lionized by the far right, including Carlson, because he killed people with an illegally-obtained AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that he took across state lines when he was too young to own a gun.  

Personal Attacks: Carlson’s wanted to strip GOP strategist Frank Luntz of any role in the party “because his views don’t align with average Republican voters.” Luntz had developed effective talking points for Republicans, beginning with Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” to make Republicans the effective lying machine they are.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg is the focus of Carson’s hostility toward LGBTQ people. In a 12-minute rant against the gay father of two adopted babies, Carlson repeated his hatred for Buttigieg by calling him an unqualified “kid” who “breastfeeds.” The “kid” is a Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar who served in the Navy for eight years, including as a lieutenant in a counterterrorism unit and was twice elected the mayor of South Bend (IN). The multi-millionaire Carlson ridiculed Buttigieg’s goal to support “the safety of our children and our families” and complained about potholes in South Bend streets.

Carlson worked so hard to destroy Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, that he spent hours on-air smearing him, especially after a possibly mythical discovery of Hunter’s laptop computer abandoned in a New York repair shop. No one ever saw the contents, but Carlson talked about the salacious contents with no evidence. Evidence proves that Carlson used an earlier friendship with Hunter to get his son into Georgetown, Hunter’s alma mater. The son Buckley graduated in 2019, and Carlson never commented on his closeness with Hunter during his rants against him.

Carlson is eclectic in his attacks:

  • He warned people not to go to Baltimore, “one of the worst places in the western hemisphere…, a bit of Haiti in the mid-Atlantic.”
  • After Meghan Markle and Prince Harry criticized Joe Rogan for his COVID misinformation on Spotify, Tucker called them “that annoying fake duchess from LA and her brain-dead husband”—“grifters.”
  • The U.S. will lose to the “masculine” military of China, according to Carlson, because Biden wants the U.S. military to “become more feminine” with pregnant troops and female four-star general. (Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who lost both her legs in combat, fired back at Carlson for that one.) 
  • Tucker agreed with Rep. Marjorie Greene (R-GA) that most lawmakers “sound like losers” and “not qualified to be there.” (He gave Greene’s campaign $250 in a raffle for a $10,000 Barrett M82A1 sniper rifle.)
  • Even the lowly M&Ms are not beyond Carlson’s notice. He said the rotund figures are “deeply unappealing” and no longer “sexy” because they now wear sneakers. Especially the green one!
  • And then there’s Tucker Carlson’s worship of the Hungarian authoritarianism. But that’s a story for another day.

Carlson’s followers, like all Fox afficiandos, suffer from ignorance about the news either through falsehoods or omissions. In an interview with CNN anchor Jim Costa, Gretchen Carlson (no relation to Tucker) talking about Fox hosts spreading disinformation and lies, for example, January 6 when Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham frantically texted DDT’s chief of staff to get DDT to stop the violence. In between their texting, they defended the Capitol insurrectionists while they were on air. Gretchen Carlson commented that some Fox employees think she still works there although she quit in 2016 when she sued Roger Ailes for sexual harassment and received a settlement. Fox never covered these stories.  

Support for Russia against Ukraine is becoming a DDT litmus test like the claim that Joe Biden isn’t the legitimately elected president, yet some of Carlson’s more rational supporters are drifting away because of his rabid positions. For example, many GOP legislators are upset with him because of his support for Russia against the U.S., leaving him with only a few such as Hawley and a few GOP representatives who share his opinions

Carlson may acquire DDT’s base, but paid Fox contributors are jumping the network ship. Last fall, conservative writers Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg departed after Carlson glorified the “patriots” who threatened the lives of congressional members on January 6 in his three-part revisionist series on January 6, “Patriot Purge.” Hayes protested Carlson’s propaganda presentation of prosecuting insurrectionists as a “domestic war on terror” against the right. The tipping point for Hayes came when a man at a pro-DDT rally asked, “When do we get to use the guns?”

Chris Wallace, top anchor at Fox for nearly two decades, and Bret Baier, Fox’s chief political correspondent, complained about Carlson to Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and its president of news Jay Wallace. Wallace has left Fox since then. 

HuffPost senior reporter Christopher Mathias stated “Patriot Purge” is “the most nakedly fascist piece of propaganda Carlson has ever produced.” Politifact’s article about the series gives an idea of what the United States will be like if the far-right takes control of the nation. Michael Jenson, senior researcher at the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, said:

“It is political propaganda that is meant to rally a support base that has shown a willingness to mobilize on the basis of disinformation and lies. That’s how we got Jan. 6 in the first place.”

Goldberg said he left Fox because he could no longer “be complicit in so many lies.” With Hayes, he wrote, “The voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible.” Goldberg continued:

“I know that a huge share of the people you saw on TV praising Trump were being dishonest. I don’t merely suspect it, I know it, because they would say one thing to my face or in my presence and another thing when the cameras and microphones were flipped on.”

Acosta called Carlson along with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Madison Cawthorn (R-SC) the American Taliban for the use of intimidation and violence to get what they want.

Hate pays: Carlson was #1 in number of views for cable news programs on January 27. And Carlson is better at hate than DDT. Much better.

January 31, 2022

Youngkin Follows Trump’s Path

Presidential competition in 2024 for Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, may be from Virginia’s new governor, Glenn Youngkin, who took over the office in office a little over two weeks ago. As a candidate, Youngkin appeared to be DDT-Lite, his primary campaign platform putting parents into control of school curriculum and banning books. His executive orders on his first day of office, however, show the “Lite” is gone. He went full-blown Trumpism, signing 11 executive orders and saying, “The work is only beginning,” meaning his control of education, more police, fewer regulations, and “making government work for the people.” 

One order blocked mask requirements in public schools. He admitted that “the governor cannot ban mask mandates. Schools make those decisions. We will in fact, then, also make sure that schools allow parents to exercise their rights for what’s best for their children, to opt-out of those mandates.” For no reason. Almost half of Virginia’s schools are suing Youngkin, stating his order is unconstitutional and pointing out that Youngkin’s son attends a private school with a mask mandate. In a poll, 56 percent agree that school districts should establish their own policies. Youngkin also signed an order permitting for-profit businesses to use taxpayer money in setting up private schools. The South has a long tradition of segregation using taxpayer funding for private schools. 

Despite Youngkin’s threat to withhold funds from schools not following his mask ban, the superintendent of Richmond Public Schools said, “We will fight it to the end.” Part of the lawsuits argues that Virginia law requires school adherence to CDC provisions which include universal mask wearing in schools and overrides Youngkin’s order. His excuses for banning mask mandates falsely claim that children wear unclean masks with “bacteria and parasites” and long-term mask-wearing “decreases their effectiveness.” Dr. Colin Greene, the newly appointed state health commissioner, couldn’t find one study to support Younkin’s statement but said that it was “intuitive.

Virginia’s order versus school district’s attempt to protect student has boiled over into schools. At a school board meeting in Page County, a woman threatened to bring “every single gun loaded” to her children’s school on the next Monday. Charged with a crime, she said she didn’t literally mean it, but the district increased security. Some parents kept their children home from school. The website Mask Off Monday told parents to disobey school rules for wearing masks. Their direction:

“You may feel the need to explain your mask issues further. Resist that feeling. When it comes to the law, explanation is weakness. It’s time to get back to normal life, and the time to push is right now. Fear has ruled our lives for far too long. No ‘health authority’ will give you the all clear after all of the new power they have seized and wielded. You must turn off the television, and take it for yourself.”

Before his election, Youngkin said that “localities” must decide “the way the law works,” and his campaign promised Youngkin “would not go as far as Desantis.” After his ban on mandate requirements blew up in his face, the new governor wrote, “We’re all in the same boat and love one another.” Yet, as Dahlia Lithwick wrote, “He personally modeled contempt for authority—he encouraged it and rewarded it. He did so in the full knowledge that he was essentially deputizing furious parents to follow only the kinds of laws they liked and conscripting their kids into participating.”

Virginia’s new attorney general, Jason Miyares, is cut from Youngkin cloth: he told state universities they cannot mandate the COVID mandate for students to enroll or attend in person unless legislature includes the requirements among the immunizations. The legal opinion overturned one from April 2021 by Democratic AG Mark Herring allowing the mandate during the pandemic. The statement isn’t law and has no direct consequences if not followed. Miyares’ office stated, however, that “if an individual decided to sue a university for not following the attorney general’s guidance, they could use the Attorney General’s opinion in court.”

Before being sworn in, Miyares fired 30 lawyers, many of them in the Office of Civil Rights, with only a 24-hour notice. Some were career civil servants, not political appointees. Helen Hardiman, an investigator and litigator against housing discrimination, had 20 cases in court or going to trial. Miyares also fired top counsels at the University of Virginia and George Mason University with no justification. He said their legal advice was based on “the philosophy of a university,” indicating that the firing was political.  One attorney was fired while on leave from his university position to be the top investigator for the House January 6 committee. Miyares’ campaign promise to call “balls and strikes” with no allegiance to a political party has disappeared.

Miyares pulled Virginia out of a multi-state climate contract just two weeks after another disastrous storm from climate change. He announced Virginia would no longer participate in a pending U.S. Supreme Court case supporting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions related to climate change, saying, “Virginia is no longer anti-coal.” Virginia will join the coalition of 27 attorneys general asking OSHA to withdraw its COVID vaccine mandate of large private employers. Miyares seeks legislative authority to prosecute local cases he determines to be treated with too much leniency or completely bypass “liberal” prosecutors. Yet he refused to say whether he would continue Herring’s cases such as a lawsuit against Windsor (VA) alleging police discriminated against Blacks and violated their constitutional rights.

Another Youngkin order on his first day followed other states to give students “comfort” in their education by blocking instruction of “inherently divisive concepts.” A legislative bill defines that term as one race is “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously” and that “meritocracy or traits, such as a hard work ethic, are racist or sexist or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.” Pushed to more clearly define the term, a GOP lawmaker answered, “Anything that’s dividing”—eliminating lessons to “analyze bias and examine privilege.”

The proposed law could return the state to the mid-twentieth century as the South Florida Sun Sentinel pointed out: 

“Virginia textbooks in the mid-20th century fed students a fiction of happy slaves who loved their kindly masters. One particularly deceitful illustration portrayed a well-dressed Black family—father, mother and children—being welcomed with a handshake aboard a slave ship.”

Youngkin outdid DeSantis in this “anti-critical-race-theory” order: he set up a tip line for reports of anyone who dares violate his command. It backfired. Trolling Gen Zers on TikTok flooded the email address using a website to send prewritten emails containing song lyrics. Ironically, the governer’s office tweeted a complaint about this “misinformation” to the disinformation the governor spread through his executive actions. Gen-Z for Change made this statement to The Washington Examiner:

“If Governor Youngkin is worried that his tactics to distract from his poor handling of the pandemic are being disrupted by the collective effort of a bunch of kids who think racism is bad, he should feel free to contact us at our tip line: cryaboutit@genzforchange.org. Then again, we appreciate Governor Youngkin sticking to email—it would have been a real pain to lick this many envelopes.”

Youngkin bans “divisive” concepts in public schools, but the private schools where Youngkin’s children attended teaches these concepts. He was even on the board of National Cathedral, an all-girl Episcopal-sponsored school, known for developing anti-racism teachings with diversity forums, an equity board, an intersectionality council, and a student diversity leadership conference. The curriculum provides time for “critical conversations around topics of race, anti-racism, social justice, and inclusion”; added courses such as “Black Lives in Literature” and “Courageous Dialogues”; developed new hiring protocols “as a result of our anti-bias work,” and required diversity training for all staff members. On the summer reading list are books such as Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk about Racism.  According to the school, “discomfort helps us to stretch and grow. Learning how to engage in difficult conversations [is] vital.” The companion all-boys school, St. Albans, followed the same anti-racism initiatives. Youngkin is denying his children’s educational advantages to all public school students.

With his own pro-coal policy,  Youngkin appointed Andrew Wheeler, former EPA secretary and coal industry lobbyist, as the state’s secretary of natural resources, implementing environmental policies. Virginia also dropped opposition in the Supreme Court to Mississippi’s unconstitutional abortion restriction before 15 weeks, and Youngkin expanded duties of a state diversity officer as an “ambassador for unborn children,” actually fetuses. He fired the entire state parole board and replaced the members with more conservative ones. Anti-LGBTQ, Youngkin referred to transgender girls as “biological males” and opposes same-gender marriage. He was honored at an anti-LGBTQ group gala supported by hate groups and Trump-affiliated organizations. His transition’s top officials wrote the legislation outlawing marriage equality and helped build anti-LGBTQ conservatives’ careers such as those of former VP Mike Pence and Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. As he bragged to Fox’s Laura Ingraham, there’s “a new sheriff in town.”

The “new sheriff” is already underwater in approval: the PPP survey shows positive rating at 44 percent compared to 47 percent disapproval. Having put Virginia into chaos, Youngkin says he’s “having a ball.” He lies about his campaign promises and endangers lives both from the virus and the violence ensuing because of his “inherently divisive” behavior. His next move is to restrict voting in Virginia. And he’s a businessman. He’s checking off all the Trumper boxes.

January 30, 2022

DeSantis for President?

Since November 2020, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has been operating a two-pronged attack—overturn Joe Biden’s legitimate presidency and run an underground campaign to be elected in 2024. Thus far, the first one has failed, and his leadership in the lies and violence is daily becoming exposed. A poll has revealed that his chances in 2024 may be diminishing. Although almost as many Republicans support him as several months ago, the percentage of those who support him for a presidential candidate has dropped by over 20 percent. Watching a failing DDT, competition is growing. Not one, of course, would ever say they will run against DDT, but three of them are working overtime to out-Trump DDT.

For months, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis has been the pack leader. Of Republicans, 69 percent said DDT should run again for president, but without him, 30 percent support DeSantis. The governor’s most popular DDT position features COVID—at least DDT’s position before he realized that Republicans were dying off at a far more rapid rate than Democrats because, thanks to DDT’s anti-vax attitude until recently, 56 percent of Republicans aren’t vaccinated as of a month ago, compared to 92 percent of Democrats. 

DeSantis’ promotion of COVID in his state, including banning mask mandates and touting monoclonal antibody treatments instead of vaccinations, mades Florida below only six other states in the number of COVID infections per capita. Almost 65,000 Floridians have died of COVID, and over 25 percent of the population has contracted the coronavirus. And those figures come after officials tweaked numbers of infections and deaths to make them appear more favorable to DeSantis. Currently, he is fighting the federal government for removing his preferential Regeneron treatment, a huge moneymaker for his biggest donor. This monoclonal treatment doesn’t affect the new Omicron variant, causing almost 100 percent of COVID cases in England, but DeSantis wants taxpayers to pay $1 billion for the treatments instead of $10 million for vaccinations which are more effective.

One mystery about DeSantis is where he was for a couple of weeks at the end of December in the midst of shattering new records of infections with 1000-percent spike in cases. He said he was caring for his wife, recently diagnosed with cancer, but at his speech after reemerging, he had difficulty breathing, sweat profusely, looked wobbly, and struggled to read his notes in a wavery voice. (Video here.)  Fatigue? Brain fog? Who knows.  

DeSantis is so negligent about COVID that he changed the expiration date on one million COVID rapid tests from last summer to this coming March. He had stockpiled the tests and claimed people shouldn’t bother getting tested and handpicked his new surgeon general, who has yet to be confirmed, to be anti-vaccination and anti-testing. Some facts about Joseph Ladapo, who has yet to be confirmed for the position after over four months:

  • Helped lead the state movement to ban mask mandates at schools and private businesses.
  • Refuses to say whether COVID vaccinations are beneficial, but writing that the vaccine risks may outweigh the benefits. Unvaccinated people have 68 percent times the risk of dying from COVID than fully vaccinated people.
  • Would not say whether he regretted not wearing a mask in the presence of state Sen. Tina Polsky, diagnosed with cancer, during a confirmation interview.
  • Declined to answer questions about putting Orange County’s top public health official, Dr. Raul Pino, on leave for criticizing over half the department’s 568 employees who aren’t vaccinated. 
  • Participated with a group of doctors supporting unproven COVID therapies as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. One of his colleagues in the group claims having sex with demons during dreams causes endometriosis.
  • Opposes mass COVID testing so that people can “be living.” He made this announcement from a podium with the sign, “Early Treatment Saves Lives.”
  • Makes $437,000 a year for his job and for teaching at the University of Florida thanks to the Board of Trustees chair and millionaire developer, a big donor to DeSantis campaigns. Of that sum, taxpayers pay $250,000.
  • Lied when he said he treated COVID patients at UCLA.

DeSantis doesn’t keep to COVID in demonstrating his DDT-style incompetence, divisiveness, authoritarianism, and morally degenerative behavior.  

Freedom of speech: He tried to block university students and professors who objected voting rights. 

Protesting: His “anti-riot” legislation outlawed two or more people standing together in protest but exonerates anyone driving “into protesters who are blocking a road.” https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/defining-deviancy-down-politics-edition   

Private business rights: His law, blocked in the courts, prohibited social media platforms “banning political candidates or ‘journalistic enterprises’ from their services”—directly applying to DDT.

Voter suppression: Like governors in 18 other states, DeSantis signed voter oppression laws which block some use of ballot drop boxes, give partisan poll watchers new powers, and create difficulty in vote-by-mail. The justification is three voter-fraud incidents by DDT’s supporters in the past two years.  

Election fraud: He plans to create an “Office of Election Crimes and Security,” DeSantis ignored the real election fraud electing three Republicans. Dark money in a mysterious PAC elected three “ghost” candidates in three-way races to draw votes from Democratic incumbents in tight re-election races. One of them, bribed with $44,000 by a former GOP lawmaker, had the same name as the Democrat who lost by 32 votes. That “ghost” was fined and censured, but DeSantis said nothing, perhaps because the same donor for the ghosts gave DeSantis hundreds of thousands of dollars. DeSantis did reward the donor, a utility company, by permitting them the use of dirty fuel sources and a $1.5 billion rate increase for Floridians. The $6 million budget and 52 investigators would be bigger than most of the state’s police departments—but won’t be investigating Republicans.

Personal Guard: DeSantis also wants $3.5 million to reestablish a World War II-era civilian military force disbanded in 1947 that only he controls—not the Pentagon, that is “not encumbered by the federal government.”

Campaign fraud: The Florida media reported that he uses the government-owned plane for “campaign-style events,” and a government watchdog group thinks he is “blurring the lines.” The plane cost $15 million to purchase and over $3 million a year to operate.

DeSantis now has a “reactionary and authoritarian” proposal called the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act. It bans schools and employers from making students and employees feel any “discomfort” because “of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin.” Like similar laws in other states, its purpose is to make white supremacists feel comfortable about their privilege by eliminating Black history. The South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial about the bill:

“It perpetuates two persistent great lies: That racism did not have a major influence on American history and that it is not an issue now. That is the current dogma of DeSantis’s Republican Party in its determination to retain the allegiance of white voters who are terrified of losing social and political dominance to changing demographics. Demonization of critical race theory, by making it into a boogeyman, is one front in the Republican culture wars. DeSantis would make Floridians ignorant of the most troublesome aspects of our past, present and future.”

As the editorial board wrote, DeSantis “knows critical race theory isn’t being taught in the schools,” but is lying about the issue anyway. The editorial said DeSantis’ bill was the worst one since Tennessee outlawed the teaching of evolution 96 years ago. The result of that one was called “the monkey trial.” DeSantis’ bill allows parents and employees to sue and act as vigilantes, as they can regarding abortion in Texas.

DeSantis himself has a racist history. About gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, a Black man, DeSantis said he would “monkey this up” in Florida and referred to Puerto Rican Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, elected to Congress, as “whatever she is.” He appeared with Milo Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon at a Muslim-bashing event and moderated a Facebook page for racist memes, for example accusing Michele Obama of being a man. He endorsed Sebastian Gorka who has ties to a Hungarian far-right group collaborating with Nazis. Among DeSantis’ anti-immigrant positions is increasing punishments for undocumented migrants after one mentally-ill immigrant accidentally killed someone. One of his major campaign ads for governor was teaching his toddler son about “building the wall” although Florida has no land border with any other country. DeSantis’ wife, Casey, appeared at an event with a Barack Obama “birther” with ties to the anti-Muslim extremist who also ran the racist Facebook group that DeSantis moderated.

For over a month, DDT has focused on attacking DeSantis, first calling him “gutless” for not admitting he’s had a COVID booster shot and then saying he is an ingrate with a “dull personality” with no charisma and no chance of winning in 2024 without his help. As time goes on, he may have to diversify his insulting. Door Two and Three? Perhaps Virginia’s new governor Glenn Youngkin and Fox’s Tucker Carlson. More about them later.

December 31, 2021

2021: A Year of Denial

The past tumultuous year has largely been marked by insurrection, inauguration, and infections—all major event which Republicans denied. Within a month after January 6, GOP congressional members were either silent about the attack by supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) on the U.S. Capitol or they denied any violence by the people they called “tourists” despite five dead people and 140 wounded—many in law enforcement. Some naysayers still falsely accuse the “antifa” (literally anti-fascists) for the unprecedented desecration by domestic terrorists. Also overlooked is the attempt to overturn the election by 147 congressional members who challenged legal electoral votes after the attack and mostly continue to support the “Big Lie” of a “stolen” election. That leadership, plus DDT’s unremitting similar claims, results in 71 percent of Republicans declaring Biden is not their president. 

Denial of the inauguration matches the denial of the insurrection as DDT and his supporters continue their march to a coup by declaring DDT the “true” president. Violent militia members use denial of Joe Biden as the legally elected president in their supposed “First Amendment” rights in court cases—a defense struck down by even DDT-appointed and GOP-confirmed judges. The abject fear of losing elections has led to 19 states passing 33 new voter-suppression laws, not only turning the voting process over to Republicans but also giving legislatures the right to change legal state ballot counts if the election officials don’t fall in line with the party. These laws have accompanied a huge spate of threats to election officials, who then resigned. To illustrate the severe national polarization, at least 25 states enacted 62 laws to expand voting access.

Big judicial cases dominated much of the year. The cases of three killed Black men brought three convictions: the police officer who killed George Floyd, a police officer who “accidentally” killed Daunte Wright, and three men who killed Ahmaud Abrey. After a police officer received “immunity” for killing a schizophrenic man by kneeling on his neck for 14 minutes in 2016, the family finally has the right to take the case to civil court. Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of federal sex trafficking after recruiting and grooming teenage girls sexually abused by her former boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein, who died in prison.

Teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two men and wounded another while gunning for them, was acquitted and became a far-right hero.  DDT escaped conviction in his second impeachment trial, going on to control the GOP—much to the dismay of most Republicans. Now he’s bilking GOP donors to pay for his ongoing criminal cases. 

Upcoming court cases will include those for a teenage boy who shot and killed four classmates and injured another seven while his parents have been charged with abetting his actions. This horrific event was one of almost 700 mass shootings during the year in the United States.

As cases and deaths from COVID skyrocket, conservatives, especially Christian evangelists, deny both the effectiveness of vaccines and the existence of huge numbers of people suffering and dying from the coronavirus. With his desire to live in the White House, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has tried to block every public health policy to keep people safer, including his fight to permit cruise ships to land at his docks. This past week, Florida had its highest level of COVID cases, 31,758 new infections, since the pandemic started in February 2020 and its third COVID outbreak on a Florida-based cruise ship. In the past two weeks, cruise ships in U.S. waters reported 5,013 COVID cases, up from 162 cases during the previous two weeks. Overall, the U.S. has 265,000 reported cases average for a week, up 60 percent from the previous week. Only 62 percent of people in the U.S. have been vaccinated. Yesterday, the U.S. experienced 572,019 infections with 1,362 deaths.

Denial of climate change has led to more horrific disasters in 2021 with fires, the most recent one this December described as the worst one in Colorado’s history and tornadoes, the deadliest one in history and staying on the ground for a 250-mile swath, earlier in December.

The so-called “culture wars” are leading to states passing laws against the non-existent teaching of “critical race theory,” expanding into a censorship of curriculum and library books not seen for decades. School boards are calling for the burning of books about racism and LGBTQ rights issues or being physically threatened and attacked for not following the wishes of “parents,” sometimes childless violent protesters who don’t live in the districts.

The worst denial for the year is how well Biden is administering. Immediately after his inauguration, he used the Defense Production Act to purchase more vaccines and coordinate the transportation to states. The project would have been a success except for the concerted effort of Republicans to remain unvaccinated, partly to thwart any achievement on the part of Democrats. As vaccinations waned from GOP opposition, mandates issued by Biden and government entities were sent to courts where several of them were overturned by DDT-appointed judges. When death rates for Republicans tripled those for Democrats, even before the Omicron variant, conservatives blamed Biden for not stopping the disease that the GOP made worse by rejecting vaccinations.

Throughout the year, Biden worked to improve the economy with the successes—and problems—described in yesterday’s post. The U.S. would be in even better shape if Republicans, aided by Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) had not blocked the second infrastructure bill by denying that people needed any money. With no or almost no GOP votes, Biden succeeded in moving three must-pass bills through Congress in December: the budget, the increase in the debt ceiling, and the military appropriations bills.

The biggest problem this year would be if Congress had not increased the amount permitted to cover the nation’s debts, raised $7.8 trillion by Republicans and DDT during his four-year term. Republican senators use the filibuster, a requirement of 60 percent approval to debate a bill, for all major Democratic bills, but knew the country could not default on its debt. To these senators, the filibuster is sacred—unless they want something—so they waived the filibuster this one time while not one of them voted to increase the debt ceiling. Again, a denial that the filibuster is really necessary unless Republicans say it is. The GOP-permitted debt ceiling increase of a paltry $2.5 trillion is good only until 2023 when Republicans hope to control Congress.

With no discussion of inflation or debt ceiling, the military appropriations bill passed at $25 billion higher than Biden and the Pentagon requested while protecting Saudi Arabia. Congress tacked on 12 additional F/A-18 Super Hornets, five extra Boeing F-15EX jets than the request for 17 total, and five more ships including two attack submarines and two destroyers. The president can also declare war, in opposition to the Constitution. The $768 billion, over four times the request in the Build Back Better bill, takes 65 percent of the budget’s discretionary spending. Once again, denial for domestic needs because of funding for “the military-industrial complex,” something President Dwight Eisenhower warned about 63 years ago.  

Unlike the military appropriations bill, the general budget faced a rocky road because Republicans, like Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) who was formerly Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) chief of staff, wanted to block the bill in his effort to stop Biden’s vaccine mandates. Not funding the United States would close down the nation like many other GOP shutdowns. Roy’s idea received traction from the Senate with Mike Lee (R-UT) leading the charge. Eventually, the Continuing Resolution to keep the government open until another showdown on February 18, 2022, passed the House with only one GOP vote, Illinois’ Adam Kinsinger.

QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), most recently known for her idea that people moving from blue states to red states should be fined and blocked from voting, gave her rationale for a shutdown vote—“The people in here cannot control themselves.” Eleven months before her win in a solidly red district, Greene moved there from a district electing a Democrat. 

In attempts to salvage the U.S. standing in the world, where the nation fell to a “flawed democracy” for the first time, Biden worked to revive the Iran nuclear agreement while rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and the World Health Organization. As Russian president Vladimir Putin threatens the autonomy of Ukraine, Biden is communicating to stop the giant power—and prevent a world war.

After the U.S. occupied Afghanistan for 20 years following George W. Bush’s preemptive war against the country, Biden fulfilled past promises to pull troops out of the country—much to the dismay of all the people who had demanded the administration follow through with the promises. Once again, conservatives denied that DDT had made a deal with the Taliban for doing this and left only 2,500 military members in the country.

In the corporate world, Mark Zuckerberg changed his company name to “Meta,” trying to deny the bad press he received from helping destroy people’s lives with “Facebook” as reported by whistleblowers. Thus far no one seems to have noticed the name change. AT&T was outed as the bankroller for One America News Network (OANN), which Salon called “one of the most corrosive news channels in America.” AT&T denied their actions which were backed by evidence. Caught in a Greenpeace sting, two Exxon lobbyists openly admitted the company had blocked effective climate action and bragged about using the American Petroleum Institute as Exxon’s “whipping boys.” Exxon CEO Darren Woods denied the comments.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve. You can top off the year with these holiday songs. 

October 27, 2021

Craziness in the Week before Halloween 2021

Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) wrote the Wall Street Journal that his former DOJ attorney general Bill Barr rigged the election for Biden in Pennsylvania among 19 other bulleted conspiracy theories about ballot counts. He also falsely claimed Montgomery County showed 98 percent of registered voters participating in the 2020 election; media reported 82 percent. Pennsylvania has four cases of voter fraud among its 9,090,962 votes for the 2020 general election—three of them relatives of dead people and another one attempting to also vote for his son. All four supported Dictator DDT. Audits and courts found no other evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, and Barr was DDT’s faithful lawyer in what should have been an independent agency. 

The debunked material in DDT’s letter in the generally credible conservative publication brought the same backlash as former VP Mike Pence’s op-ed claiming no “Coronavirus ‘Second Wave” because of the “lack of fact-checking and transparency” in the WSJ opinion page. The editorial board then lambasted Pence’s letter as an effort at “cancel-culture pressure.”

GOP senators’ latest attack was against DOJ AG Merrick Garland when they lied about his trying to muzzle protesting parents. Tom Cotton (R-AL) even demanded Garland resign. The attackers’ agenda is to block healthcare mandates surrounding COVID and restrict school education by blocking information about racism, now called critical race theory by ignorant conservatives.

Republicans demanded that Garland retract and apologize for his memo, but Garland said he wished they would read his words which ask federal law enforcement to work with local law enforcement for ways to protect school board members. [Missouri’s Josh Hawley (above right) posed for the camera; photo by Tom Brenner, AP] Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) accused Garland of either being a servant of the White House or “politicizing” the DOJ. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tried to instruct them by reading a list of threats and violence against official from so-called parents, some of whom traveled from state to state to attack school board members.

With DDT’s team of dissidents to overturn Joe Biden’s election as president, John Eastman developed a strategy using vice-presidential duties to put DDT back into the White House if former VP Mike Pence refused to accept the electoral votes. Last week, Eastman declared in an interview with the National Review that the strategy memo with his name “does not accurately represent” his views. He disagreed with his own assertion that the vice-president is the “ultimate arbiter” of deciding to count the Electoral College votes and said that “anybody who thinks that that’s a viable strategy is crazy.”

The day after Eastman’s statements were published, however, he told Lauren Windsor the opposite. An activist journalist known for hidden-camera interviews, Windsor pretends to be a conservative ally to elicit candid comments from the subject. Eastman told Windsor his memo wasn’t “crazy” at all. He bragged that “there’s no question” his memo’s legal reasoning is “solid” and complained that Pence and other Republicans didn’t follow the strategy because they belong to the political “establishment” and enjoy “cushy” lifestyles in Washington. The House January 6 Committee now plans to subpoena Eastman so he can say what he thinks—under oath.

Eastman blamed “FBI plants,” Antifa, and reporters to lure DDT’s supporters into trouble, claiming that the entire insurrection was a “setup” to “trap” DDT’s people into illegal activities. “John Sullivan, Antifa guy, got paid 60,000 bucks by CNN to break in and get video of violence. That is a fact.” Eastman asserted. In another conspiracy theory, he accused FBI agents embedded in right-wing militias Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. “[Militia members] walked into a trap,” he said. As head of Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Eastman spoke to the activist at the right-wing think tank’s annual gala headlined by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Claremont Institute tried to justify Eastman’s memo. Aaron Black explained:

“Essentially, the [Claremont] statement isn’t disputing that Eastman provided a ready-made procedure for Trump and Pence to get the election overturned—he clearly and unambiguously did so—it’s that he didn’t explicitly say Pence should overturn it himself.”

During his career, Eastman clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas, worked at the law firm with Ken Starr, and collaborated with Hugh Hewitt on his nationally syndicated radio program. Chair of the board for the National Institute for Marriage fighting marriage equality, he is director with the Public Interest Legal Foundation, created to use frivolous lawsuits to attack elections.

At the age of 17, Kyle Rittenhouse stole a semiautomatic rifle resembling an AR-15 and crossed a state line to shoot and kill two protesters and wound another in Kenosha (WI), but the judge for his trial won’t permit them to be called “victims” because the word is “loaded” with prejudgment. He didn’t object to using “rioters,” “looters,” and “arsonists” for them. The wounded man carried a gun but has not been charged with a crime and had his hands in the air when he was shot. Rittenhouse, who was walking the streets with a group of armed men, is claiming self-defense. In Kenosha, protesters marched because a white police officer shot a Black man seven times in the back.

The judge also prevented the prosecutor from asking about Rittenhouse’s ties to the white supremacist Proud Boys who incite violence at protests. Although Rittenhouse flashed one their hate symbols and posed for photographs with Proud Boys at a Wisconsin Bar, the judge said the connections to the right-wing group weren’t relevant to the case. Known for cruel and capricious rulings, the judge had ordered a 28-year-old woman convicted of shoplifting to announce her criminal record to the store management wherever she went. An appeals court overruled that order. A backlog of cases comes from hundreds of defendants formally requesting a different judge.

Most conservative members of Congress call the January 6 insurrection a “protest” or “innocent tourists” visiting the Capitol, but Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), chief QAnon conspiracy theorist in Congress, admits it’s a riot, as in “just a riot.” The insurrection differed from the racial-justice protests that was “an attack on innocent American people.” She summarized the reason for the Capitol “riot”:

“And if you think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says to overthrow tyrants.”

The classic statement of today came from a question at a Turning Point USA event in Idaho when DDT-supporter Charlie Kirk was speaking. “When do we get to use the guns?” the audience member queried. The crowd applauded, and the man continued:

“That’s not a joke… I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”

Obviously taken aback, Kirk tried to quell the discussion of killing people, not because it was wrong but because it would get the group into trouble. No debunking of a “stolen” election or the errors of violence—just the assertion that people had to stay out of trouble until the United States rejected federalism. He did reassure the audience that “we are going to name the name [of those who] pulled this off in the 2020 election.” (Right: Kirk, another angry leader.)

Like other Republicans, including DDT and others planning the January 6 insurrection, Kirk has fanned the flames of violence. Last summer he said Biden was sending “goons DOOR-TO-DOOR to make you take a covid-19 vaccine.” One of Turning Point’s ads for donations shouted, “LOCK YOUR DOORS, KIDS!!” Kirk’s Arizona chapter brought almost $40 million in donations for the last fiscal year, and he made $330,000 from Turning Point and related organizations. The non-profit claims it “educates students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets and capitalism.”

In Texas, state GOP Rep. Matt Krause requires the state’s public school superintendents to scour school libraries for books on a list of 850 titles dealing with issues like race, gender and sexuality. He also demanded to know the cost to the school in buying them and their availability for checking them out. Any books that “contain material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously” must be reported to him, according to his letter. Books on the list include not only award-winning authors such as The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron but also ones on “sexuality” such as LGBT Families by Leanne K. Currie-McGhee. Krause is a candidate for the state’s attorney general.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, DDT’s appointee, must go. Now he has suspended first-class package and priority mail services to Australia and New Zealand. No more gifts to the grandkids, art sales, online shopping, etc. because of “freight air capacity issues.” 

And then there’s the insanity of Facebook revelations and the promotion of COVID infections by anti-vaxxing Republican leaders. Plus the games of so-called Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) to destroy the jobs (aka infrastructure) bill.

October 18, 2021

Racist Problems Caused by Legislature

Southlake (TX), population 32,376, has a Black percentage of 1.7 percent and a household median income over $240,000; most students attend schools in the Carroll ISD. The idyllic community became the focus of an NBC documentary, Southlake: Racial Reckoning in a Texas Suburb, after a video of students shouting racial slurs led to students sharing accounts of racism and discrimination. A school board attempt to address the problem caused a culture war about the non-existent teaching of GOP-invented issue of “critical race theory (CRT)” when the vast majority of White conservatives decided to wipe out any mention of racism with the help of new Texas legislation. 

A new superintendent in the school district of 8,400 students developed a plan to work on the problems of racism, but wealthy conservative parents elected school board members to quash support for anyone except white students. Again, Southlake stories went viral. First, the school board voted 3-2 to reprimand a fourth-grade teacher, named the school’s teacher of the year, for having the book This Book Is Anti-Racist in her classroom. Parents of one child who donated $1,000 to elect the school board members complained the book was against their “morals and faith.” In over 5,000 reviews, the book had received an average of 4.35 stars out of five.

The reprimand came from the demand that any classroom libraries had to “give deference to both sides” of historical topics. In a “training” of book content, a top district administrator mandated the new requirement for classroom libraries, even books about the Holocaust when German Nazis killed over 6 million people, primarily Jews, in concentration camps during the 1940s. A secret recording of the training also went viral.  

Despite the recording, the school district claimed that the media was wrong about these statements: Carroll ISD claimed that “our district has not and will not mandate books be removed, nor will we mandate that classroom libraries be unavailable.” Written materials from the district ordered teachers to have mandatory training about new rules and directions for getting rid of books that don’t meet the “deference” rule. Teachers are to discard books that present singular, dominant narratives “in such a way that it … may be considered offensive.” The purpose is to avoid any lessons that make students (presumably White) feel “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” because of their race. According to the school district reprimand, one parent can cause the elimination of instruction or teaching materials. One teacher asked:

“How am I supposed to know what 44 sets of parents find offensive? We’ve been told: ‘The parents are our clients. We have to do what they want.’ And this is what they want.”

For their libraries, teachers have used yellow caution tapes or black sheet of paper with a sign reading, “You can’t read any of the books on my shelves.” 

Among the books that teachers are afraid to keep in the classroom:

  • Separate Is Never Equal: a picture book by Duncan Tonatiuh about a Mexican American family’s fight to end segregation in California in the 1940s.
  • A Good Kind of Trouble: Lisa Moore Ramée book about a girl involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • The Hate U Give: ” Angie Thomas’ book depicted radicalized reactions to a policy shooting.
  • All books by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison.

Censorship attempts by White parents in other places also want to eliminate any non-White books:

  • Franklin (TN): Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington (Frances E. Ruffin), The Story of Ruby Bridges (Robert Cole) about the 6-year-old Black girl who integrated a Louisiana public school in 1960, and several others.
  • York County (PA): After the school district voted to censor books recommended by the district’s diversity committee, national protest including that from Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter Berniece King caused the district to reverse their censorship.
  • Katy Independent School District (TX): award-winning graphic novels about the lives of young Black men by Jerry Craft.

Earlier this year the Carroll ISD had told teachers they could not use Scholastic News, a current events magazine for youth from one of the largest and most reputable publishers in the United States, after parents said its articles had a liberal bias. A teacher in the district described the driving forces behind determining “both sides” are fear, ignorance, and racism. The person said teachers are not “asked to have opposing views on colonization. We’re not being asked to have opposing views on Christopher Columbus Day or Thanksgiving.” Educators’ lives are at risk, according to the teacher, who reported threats against teachers who speak out “to destroy their lives, to come for their license, to go after their families.”

Southlake’s problems are not going away. During tonight’s school board meeting with over 50 speakers, a former student described the anti-Semitic bullying he experienced in the Carroll ISD that made him consider suicide. Teachers said they felt unsupported and under attack. A Jewish parent, descendent of Holocaust survivors, said his family is thinking about moving from Southlake. Some parents condemned the advice for “opposing” perspectives on the Holocaust but defended the district administrator who gave these orders.

Another Texas law goes into effect in December about social studies curriculum restrictions to the state’s “understanding of the fundamental moral, political, and intellectual foundations of the American experiment in self-government; the history, qualities, traditions, and features of civic engagement in the United States; the structure, function, and processes of government institutions at the federal, state, and local levels.” This curriculum can come only from the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the first Lincoln-Douglas debate, writings of the founding fathers of the United States, the history and importance of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 13th, 14th, and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Missing are the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing voting by Blacks, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Requirements cut from the state standards include “the history of Native Americans,” “[founding] mothers and other founding persons,” and topics such as slaves by George Washington (Ona Judge) and Sally Hemmings (Thomas Jefferson). Frederick Douglass’s writings, the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850, the Indian Removal Act of 1830 forcing indigenous Americans off their southeastern lands, and Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists defending the separation of church and state have disappeared as have “historical documents related to the civic accomplishments of marginalized populations” about the Chicano movement, women’s suffrage and equal rights, the civil rights movement, indigenous rights, and the U.S. labor movement. White supremacy, eugenics, the Ku Klux Klan, and the importance of the civil rights movement are gone.

If teachers voluntarily address controversial issues and current events, they must address all perspectives and not “choose sides.” Teaching about “courage” can use “George Washington crossing the Delaware, or William Barret Travis defending the Alamo,” according to a member of the state board of education. The bill specifically removes a requirement to teach about slavery and how it is morally wrong, women’s suffrage, equal rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stated:

“Parents want their students to learn how to think critically, not be indoctrinated by the ridiculous leftist narrative that America and our Constitution are rooted in racism.”

Schools in other states are also permissive about racism. In Rome (GA), Black students were singled out for punishment when a diverse group of students—Black, Latinx, and White—at Coosa High School protested the school’s failure to discipline White students using racial slurs against Black students and waving a Confederate flag at them. All students were warned against the protest where they only had flyers, but only Black students were suspended. A White student pointed out she escaped any punishment “because I’m white.” Public school students have a constitutional right to protest.

A Dallas Morning News editorial “blame[s] legislative meddling” for the Southlake chaos—and probably the racist laws in other Republican states which are described as protecting students from the non-existent CRT education.

“If any American community embodies the national frenzy about how we teach race in schools, it’s Southlake. The acrimony over Carroll ISD’s diversity plan to tackle racism reshaped the school board, drew unflattering headlines, and inspired a podcast by NBC News…

“What happened in Southlake this month is the unfortunate outcome of a new and misguided state law against critical race theory that passed earlier this year. While the law doesn’t define the term or even mention it, it was crafted by legislators in the context of a national panic about how our country confronts racism…

“There should be no moral confusion in our schools about the evils of the Holocaust, of slavery, of white supremacy… There have been more than enough incidents to make it clear why many students and families feel less than welcome in Southlake, so it should be equally clear why the community needs honest and civil discussions about a diversity and inclusion plan.

“The Texas Legislature has made it harder for Southlake to find a path toward reconciliation. Our lawmakers should be joining us in these difficult conversations instead of dividing us.”

Amen. The Southlake debacle is about far more than the Holocaust, but it’s a beginning to address the rampant pro-racism laws being passed in red states.

July 19, 2021

Congress, Courts behind U.S. Rights

[Update: More good news since yesterday’s report on President Joe Biden’s work:

  • AG Merrick Garland has blocked federal prosecutors from seizing journalists’ records in leak probes, reversing earlier policies violating First Amendment rights for the press. Exceptions include concern about reporters working for a foreign power or terrorist organizations and situations with imminent risks such as kidnappings and crimes against children.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also agreed with Biden’s policy permitting unaccompanied children to enter the country in an exception to the pandemic regulation allowing any migrants crossing the border to be expelled.
  • A new guideline from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prevents them from the ability to “detain, arrest or take into custody individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum or nursing.”]

Congress:

The Capitol Police, who arrested no one at the January 6 insurrection, arrested Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and eight others in a small group of primarily Black women peacefully protesting in favor of the Senate passing voting rights legislation. Beatty spoke on the Hill before a march into the Hart Senate Office Building Atrium where she was zip-tied by the police officers for “demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds.” By June 21, 27 states enacted 28 laws this year to restrict access to voting while another 61 bills move through 18 state legislatures, 31 passing in at least one chamber. After Texas passed its highly restrictive bill in the Senate, Democrats left the state House without a quorum, going to Washington, D.C. and lobbying senators to support the House voting rights act. Because of the filibuster, the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes of the 100 senators to debate the House bill.  [Photo by Jose Luis/AP]

Objecting to fascist speeches, people in three West Coast locations blocked QAon Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene from public venues. The duo protested on a Riverside sidewalk to oppose vaccinations after turned away there as well as in Anaheim and Laguna Hills. Gaetz, investigated for sex-trafficking, and Greene, threatening to execute House colleagues, cried “cancel culture” to a crowd of about 100. 

Seven GOP senators asked Biden to repeal trade barriers, including tariffs, set up by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Congressional members, who never objected during DDT’s term, included the most conservative lawmakers: Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Utah’s Mike Lee, and Nebraska’s Deb Fischer.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) not only gave Democrats credit for the financial windfall his state receives from ARPA but also told constituents his state would never get it again if he had his way. He said: 

“Cities and counties in Kentucky will get close to [$700] or $800 million. If you add up the total amount that will come into our state, $4 billion. That’s twice what we sent in last year.”

Last year, McConnell told states they should file for bankruptcy—something most likely legally impossible.

Before a Congressional summer break, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff originally appointed by DDT, testified at a House Armed Services Committee hearing about the 2022 Defense Department budget. Accused of “critical race theory” being taught in military academies, he called “for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read.” Milley said he wanted to learn about white rage to understand what “caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America…” He asked his questioners, “What is wrong with understanding?” and continued by talking about antebellum laws leading to “a power differential” with Blacks who “were three-fourths of a human being when this country was formed.”  On Fox, Laura Ingraham proposed defunding the military if it spreads a “far-left Marxist racist ideology,” and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) agreed with her.  Gaetz tweeted a proposal to defund the FBI before deleting it.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is being criticized for holding up confirmation on key appointments for the national security team, especially Bonnie Jenkins, named as under secretary of State for arms control and international security affairs. U.S. and Russian officials will meet on July 28 to discuss nuclear nonproliferation talks with Jenkins the senior official. Cruz is singlehandedly blocking a dozen State appointees until Biden sanctions the pipeline delivering natural gas from Russia to Germany and Europe. 

Earlier this year, New York suspended the law license of Rudy Giuliani, DDT’s former lawyer, for his plethora of election lies both in and out of court. Now the DC appeals court has suspended Giuliani from working as an attorney in the city “pending outcome” of his New York situation in New York. Because of his lies “to courts, lawmakers, and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer” for DDT his campaign, Giuliani’s “conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law,” according to the court. Giuliani promised to stop making statements about the election in his legal capacity but continued to lie.

Courts:

Sued by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is claiming that he incited the insurrection on January 6 as part of his government responsibilities. When Brooks was finally served with the lawsuit after three months, he lied about the manner of being served, as video proves.

A federal judge earlier dismissed a case from two Colorado lawyers alleging a vast conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election by Dominion Voting Systems, but he is now considering discipline against the lawyers for filing a frivolous claim, allowing themselves to be used as “a propaganda tool” by DDT for “just repeating stuff the president is lying about.” Earlier last week, a federal judge in Michigan skeptically questioned nine lawyers about the “stolen” election, including Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood in a similar hearing. Pending sanctions hearing include one in Wisconsin where the governor asked a judge to order DDT and his lawyers to pay legal fees for the post-election litigation. Attorneys who lie in court with frivolous motions are required to pay the opponents’ legal fees. 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided 5-2 that state election officials may not immediately force people off the voter rolls. Some of the 72,000 subjects, trimmed from 232,000 in 2019, still live where they registered. The court determined local clerks, not the state commission, are responsible for any removal, according to state law. Officials admit they use a system mistakenly flagging people who move and lists which shouldn’t be the final word while not knowing how many errors have been made but want accuracy.

Once again, a Massachusetts court is permitting a case against ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies to move forward. Since 2017, over 20 state and local governments have brought liability lawsuits against major fossil fuel companies, but the Massachusetts case is the first to overcome a dismissal motion. ExxonMobil faces similar cases of consumer fraud from AGs in Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia. The company’s board of directors also has three new members supported by a climate-focused activist investment firm.

A federal judge temporarily stopped a Florida law penalizing social media companies for blocking a politician’s posts, suggesting the law violates the First Amendment. The judge described the law, intended to force DDT’s return to social media after his removal y the January 6 insurrection, as “an instance of burning the house to roast a pig.” Other conservative states consider similar laws to regulate tech industry. NetChoice stated appreciation to the court for not being forced to provide “racial epithets, aggressive homophobia, pornographic material, beheadings, or other gruesome content.”

Survivors and families of victims of a 2019 California synagogue shooting may continue with their lawsuit against the manufacturer of the attacker’s weapon and the gun store selling the gun. The judge ruled that Smith & Wesson demonstrated negligence in its marketing the assault-style semiautomatic rifle modified to automatically fire. The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) protects gunmakers from litigation for their weapons used in criminal acts but not to negligence or deliberate violations of state laws. In 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims could sue the manufacturer of the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle used for the crime, and the family of a woman killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, killing 53 people, can sue manufacturers of the weapons.

A federal court decided in favor of Hawaii law blocking people from carrying arms openly in public, ruling that states may restrict open carry without violating the Second Amendment. George W. Bush appointment Judge Jay Bybee stated in the opinion that the “right to carry arms openly in public [is not] within the scope of the Second Amendment.” A “may issue” state, Hawaii may issue a special carry license showing they have “reason to fear injury” to “person or property.”

The trading app Robinhood has been fined $70 million for “widespread and significant harm suffered” by its customers because of its “false and misleading” information, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Millions of Robinhood customers suffered losses during the app’s outages in March 2020, preventing them from capitalizing on historic stock market gains. Harmed customers will receive $12.6 million of the $70 million. The app was fined $1.25 million in 2019 and $65 million in December 2020 for breaking rules requiring brokerages to get the best possible share prices for customers.

Despite all the GOP attacks on Biden, his overall YouGov favorability is at 58 percent.

June 20, 2021

Religion Moves to QAnon Beliefs

The Southern Baptist Church conference is over, and thousands of people elected the less extreme Rev. Ed Litton as president. In Slate, Molly Olmstead called the vote a move away from extremist support for Deposed Donald Trump (DDT). Before last week’s meeting, ultraconservatives had pushed DDT supporters to elect far-right Mike Stone and vote for their positions about critical race theory (against) and the church’s sexual abuse (ignore). Former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson, accused of trying to intimidate and silence an alleged sexual assault victim, was a strong proponent of Stone.

Outgoing president J.D. Greear introduced the two-day conference by warning about the dangers of hypocrisy—even worse, he said, than the “curse of liberalism.” He cautioned against a convention mistreating and maligning “female abuse victims” and putting more energy into lambasting CRT than “lamenting the devastating consequences of years of racial bigotry and discrimination.” Two years ago, the SBC convention passed a resolution to use CRT and intersectionality if they were second to Scripture; in November, seminary presidents declared CRT “incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message. Prominent Black pastors left the SBC.  

Prepared for a fight, convention organizers combined many resolutions into one, apologizing for the SBC’s part in perpetuating systemic racism but rejecting “any theory or worldview that finds the ultimate identity of human beings in ethnicity or in any other group dynamic” as well as “any theory or worldview that sees the primary problem of humanity as anything other than sin against God and the ultimate solution as anything other than redemption found only in Christ.” The resolution easily passed, and conservatives failed with resolutions to specifically condemn CRT or stop funding institutions promoting CRT. A final vote also amended SBC rules to expel a member church for racism.

In the other issue, the SBC has been accused of ignoring claims by victims of sexual abuse and sheltering the abusers, swiftly clearing accused pastors without a complete investigation. Recently, a report alleged the SBC failed to look into allegations of a church staffer who moved on to abuse children at other churches. A popular Bible teacher, Beth Moore, left the SBC in March, citing sex abuse allegations. She had also broken SBC rules by speaking publicly to men and women as well as opposing DDT in the convention.

Russell Moore (no relation), who pushed for reform within the conference, criticized the SBC for its poor handling of abuse allegations and left the church’s leadership. The convention passed a resolution that “any person who has committed sexual abuse is permanently disqualified from holding the office of pastor.” 

Resolutions are non-binding opinions, and SBC conservatives elected their choice as vice-president. Yet some evangelicals may separate themelves from the secular focus that elected DDT.

Peter Wehner, who worked for three GOP administrations before DDT as speechwriter, wrote about a concern about evangelicals participating in the QAnon movement as 31 percent of them have. In an interview with The Atlantic, Tennessee’s former two-term GOP governor Bill Haslam said:

“I have heard enough pastors who are saying they cannot believe the growth of the QAnon theory in their churches. Their churches had become battlegrounds over things that they never thought they would be. It’s not so much the pastors preaching that from pulpits—although I’m certain there’s some of that—but more people in the congregation who have become convinced that theories are reflective of their Christian faith.”

Wehner wrote:

“Countless people who profess to be Christians are having their moral sensibilities shaped more by Tucker Carlson’s nightly monologues than by Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

“Many of those who most loudly proclaim the ‘pre-eminence of Christ’ have turned him into a means to an end, a cruel, ugly and unforgiving end. And this, too, is not quite what Jesus had in mind.”

The SBC is not the only fundamentalist Christian religion being taken over by the QAnons, and pastors are leaving their churches because of parishioners’ radicalization. Even YouTube sermons are infusing dangerous conspiracy theories about rampant sex-trafficking and demon possession of Democrats. Consider Sen. Ted  Cruz’s (R-TX) speech to a recent fundamentalist conference about Democrats being “soulless” with “red eyes” and “no brain.” Many of the audience literally accepts his message. Christian fundamentalism continues to be ripe for takeover by White supremacists.

Last January, over 45 percent of Protestant pastors reported often hearing congregants repeating conspiracy theories about national news events. Sixty percent of White evangelical respondents believe President Joe Biden’s 2020 win was “not legitimate”—the highest of any religious group. Last February, more than 1,400 evangelical pastors and faith leaders published an open letter condemning “radicalized Christian nationalism” and the “rise of violent acts by radicalized extremists using the name of Christ,” according to the Washington Post. SBC youth pastor Jared Stacey, who left the church, said, “The church is going through the biggest information shift since the printing press.”

Since January 6, Derek Kubilus, senior pastor of Uniontown United Methodist Church (OH), has offered “healing for QAnon followers and family members from a Christian perspective” through his “Cross Over Q” podcast. He said he felt he had to do something after seeing “crosses being carried alongside QAnon banners and a noose.”

Also at Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority Conference where Cruz spoke, a group shouted “traitor” at former VP Mike Pence. The MAGA group claimed he had validated the presidency of Joe Biden by permitting the Electoral College to cast the votes of the people for the 2020 election.

The FBI sent Congressional members an unclassified threat assessment that QAnon may go from “digital soldiers” to “real world violence.” The “believers” already played a central role in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol with over 20 of them arrested for their participation. The FBI had already classified QAnon as a domestic-terror threat in an internal memo, but DDT accepted their members, calling them “people who love our country” and “they like me very much, which I appreciate.” The recent FBI report comes after requests by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) for a full assessment on the QAnon threat.

Steven Benen wrote about QAnon:

“The basic idea behind the madness is that Donald Trump is secretly at war with nefarious forces of evil, including Democrats, Hollywood celebrities, the “deep state,” cannibals, and an underground ring of Satanic pedophiles who are operating a child sex trafficking ring that only adherents of the conspiracy theory are aware of.

“QAnon adherents were convinced that a reckoning was imminent, in which Trump would be re-elected and his enemies would be vanquished. When President Biden took office, some followers of the crackpot theory came to realize that their bonkers ideas were not coming to fruition.”

Because of DDT’s pressure, QAnon followers have not moved on with their lives but instead joined him in the master conspiracy theory that the election was “stolen” from him. The FBI fears that they “will begin to believe they can no longer ‘trust the plan’ referenced in QAnon posts,” leading them to extreme violence. Facts contributing to QAnon’s lasting effect, according to the FBI report, include COVID, posts on social media platforms, U.S. polarization, and support from public individuals. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is a QAnon strong advocate.

Fivethirtyeight.com, a political website reporting surveys, has a detailed explanation of why people fall for conspiracy theories such as the moon landing being a hoax and vaccines being dangerous. The article presents testing for different traits such as the jumping-to-conclusions bias with little evidence, a trait more likely held by conspiracy theories. No one trait of the article predicts belief in conspiracy theories, but several of them may indicate a pattern.

A 2018 study about whether a series of coin tosses is random or predetermined examined tendencies to see patterns even if there are none. Those who see predetermination also find them in random statements—as in QAnon conspiracy beliefs making connections between unrelated events and symbols as a marker of conspiracy theories—such as a cicada landing on Biden’s neck meaning the onslaught of “the storm.” Or the connection of the Ever Given, ship caught in the Suez Canal believe by QAnon to transport trafficked children, and a March madness tweet from Mike Pompeo, a warship transit, and a 2018 Q post. [Hint: these coin tosses are random, not predetermined.]

Environmental factors can influence cognitive traits. Conspiracy theories can make people feel safer, perhaps by having a specific political candidate win or keeping a job endangered by an understanding of climate change. The theories may make them part of their tribe, “in-group” instead of “out-group.” Belief can make a person feel superior or important. The sharing of conspiracy theories builds them, and social media has been instrumental in doing this, especially when people were staying at home and on the internet during the pandemic.

About half the population endorses at least one conspiracy theory. (I won’t tell you mine!). And all brains want to take shortcuts, make assumptions, and be irrational. The extremes create danger for our lives and for our democracy.

A fascinating look at conspiracy theories through the last six centuries, their relationship to social and political upheavals, and DDT’s history of conspiracy theories.

 

June 19, 2021

Time to Talk Critical Race Theory

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 12:01 AM
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the speakers featured at this weekend’s Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority Conference was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), spreading more disinformation about critical race theory. He claimed that CRT tells every white person they are a racist and the theory is “as racist as the Klansmen in white sheets.” Then he topped off his damning remarks by how it came from Marxism, that CRT changed the conflict “between the owners of capital and the working men and women” to that of race. Cruz finished by claiming he loves everyone, “whatever skin color you are” before he compared Democrats to the Terminator: they “are soulless, have no brain, and red eyes.” So much for love.

Most people have heard the term “critical race theory,” but most people may not know what it means. For that reason, Christopher Rufo decided it would be the “perfect weapon” against Democrats and created the conflict with falsehoods about it. He took advantage of remote work, making leaked large meetings and emailed documents much easier to access. In July 2020, a Seattle employee sent Rufo documentation from an anti-bias training session, and he sent a report claiming forced education about internalized white supremacy to the center-right Manhattan Institute, once home to white nationalist Charles Murray who talks about Blacks have lower IQs than Whites:

“Under the banner of ‘antiracism,’ Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights is now explicitly endorsing principles of segregationism, group-based guilt, and race essentialism—ugly concepts that should have been left behind a century ago.”

Collecting more stories of anti-racism trainings, Rufo noted they cited popular anti-racism books, for example, by Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo. The books’ footnotes cited academic scholarship from the 1990s by legal scholars arguing current laws and societal rules reflecting past white supremacy which were called critical race theory. Rufo associated CRT with critical-theory, sometimes Marxist, research by the 1968 generation including Angela Davis—aka “red-baiting.” He created language to supplant the former conservative targets such as “political correctness” during President Obama’s second term and “cancel culture” of more recent years. He wrote:

“’Critical race theory’ is the perfect villain. Its connotations are all negative to most middle-class Americans, including racial minorities, who see the world as ‘creative’ rather than ‘critical,’ ‘individual’ rather than ‘racial,’ ‘practical’ rather than ‘theoretical.’ Strung together, the phrase ‘critical race theory’ connotes hostile, academic, divisive, race-obsessed, poisonous, elitist, anti-American.”

On Tucker Carlson’s show, Rufo said, “It’s absolutely astonishing how critical race theory”—emphasizing the last three words by saying them slowly—“has pervaded every aspect of the federal government.” He continued by describing his articles and then said:

“Conservatives need to wake up. This is an existential threat to the United States. And the bureaucracy, even under Trump, is being weaponized against core American values. And I’d like to make it explicit: The President and the White House—it’s within their authority to immediately issue an executive order to abolish critical-race-theory training from the federal government. And I call on the President to immediately issue this executive order—to stamp out this destructive, divisive, pseudoscientific ideology.”

The next day, White House chief-of-staff Mark Meadows called Rufo who immediately helped draft a presidential executive order issued in late September to block contractors from talking about race in federal diversity seminars. Recently, Rufo bragged about how the conservative campaign against critical race theory he invented “came from nothing.”

The farthest right became Rufo’s followers: Carlson hosted Rufo for an hour-long segment on “woke education”; Rufo advised language for over ten bills banning the teaching of CRT; and people like Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) use Rufo’s language. He speaks to Congress and has drinks with Cruz. The Fox network mentioned “critical race theory” 1,300 times in under four months—244 times last week—in order to influence the 2022 election

Rufo’s goal in his personal movement is “to politicize the bureaucracy,” allowing conservatives to take over from the liberals. His laws prevent social studies teachers from explaining current events at all levels. Three months ago, Rufo promised to make CRT “toxic” in the public imagination. He even provided his own definition of the term in a tweet:

“The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory.’ We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.”

Five states passed bills preventing the teaching of CRT—whatever they think it is—and another seventeen introduced bills to ban that education. The bills condemn teaching of historical racism and its impact on modern U.S. society as divisive or racist. Florida, Montana, and Utah have banned CRT through their states’ boards of education.

Law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw explained that in the “post-George Floyd backlash” the anti-CRT campaign tries to change the argument focus from addressing structural racism to the anti-racism seminars addressing structural racism.

Conservatives are delighted with the success of its anti-CRT campaign. The Affordable Care Act hasn’t gone away, the religious right hasn’t yet destroyed LGBTQ rights, and Deposed Donald Trump’s (DDT) involvement in elections frightens Republicans for future elections. Now the far right feels successful because they are banning the teaching of a concept in the schools that has not been taught in schools. They have defeated a threat that doesn’t exist. Instead, teachers are becoming terrified of even mentioning race—a difficult proposition when explaining the newest federal holiday of Juneteenth. Conservatives complain about a new holiday to recognize just one race, forgetting that the original Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, celebrated only White people. No people of color had “independence” in the United States of the 18th century.

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis forced the state board of education to ban CRT in classrooms, the state’s U.S. GOP Sen. Rick Scott proposed a similar resolution in the Senate. It claims CRT “serves as a prejudicial ideological tool, rather than an educational tool, and should not be taught in K-12 classrooms” while encouraging states and localities to take action to discourage the theory. The resolution avoided the truth: CRT is not a defined doctrine, and CRT, taught in graduate school, does appear in K-12 schools. Three senators co-sponsoring the resolution did not provide specific supporting information, and three anti-CRT groups did not explain its problems.

Falsehoods used to “support” the resolution:

“Whereas Critical Race Theory’s teachings stand in contrast to the overarching goal of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in the United States”: Nope. CRT supporters believe in the Civil Rights Act, hailed as an important step to equality, but think that more is needed to done to achieve its goal of equality “in the polling booths, in the classrooms, in the factories, and in hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places that provide service to the public,” as Lyndon Johnson said. When the law didn’t cause the end of discrimination, Harvard philosopher Cornel West praised CRT’s founders in the 1990s for exposing society’s failure to deliver on the “possibilities for human freedom and equality.” Khiara Bridges’ 2018 book, Critical Race theory: A Primer, showed that Blacks are still disproportionately poor.

“Whereas Critical Race Theory serves to resegregate institutions of education and balkanize students into groups by race and ethnicity”: Nope. No current scholarship advocates resegregating schools. Any desire appears to be extremely limited. Desegregation peaked in 1988, but by 2016, they were returning to segregation. As children see more racism in their lives, they can learn about it.

“Whereas efforts to indoctrinate critical race theory into United States school children are designed to eventually transform the United States by stigmatizing its economic system and creating a hatred of all its institutions”: Nope. Anti-CRT people can’t find any examples of this. Teaching history shows a growth from the nation’s inception when voting was related to owning property and people could be owned. Learning how this is wrong is part of civic reasoning.

“Whereas the 1619 Project, which puts slavery, not the ideal of equality, at the center of our Nation’s storyline, and has been widely debunked by historians across the ideological spectrum, is nevertheless being taught in 4,500 classrooms across the country”: The New York Times edition on the legacy of slavery and racism in America since the arrival of the first slaves in 2019 was revised, and classroom materials are not identical to the piece. In addition, the material is available to classrooms but not mandated.

A definition of CRT from Isaac Saul on the middle-of-the road website Tangle:

“An academic movement that recognizes systemic racism in American society and examines how that racism impacts the law, institutions, and outcomes. It argues that many social problems are influenced more by racial inequity in societal structures than individual or psychological factors. CRT teaches that racism is an everyday experience for people of color, and that white supremacy maintains its power through our systems of government and law.”

He continues:

“If K-12 students are being taught that they are inherently inferior, superior, or racist, based on their race—or otherwise being compelled to espouse those ideas—they are already protected by our country’s laws. And they can use those laws to seek recourse.”

There’s much more to say about critical theory, but basically, as its inventor claimed, its “toxic” and the “perfect weapon.”

Next Page »

Mind-Cast

Rethinking Before Restarting

Current

Commentary. Reflection. Judgment.

© blogfactory

Truth News

Civil Rights Advocacy

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

AGR Daily News

Quaker Inspired, Evidence Based, Art And Science Of Sustainable Health Plus Success - How To Create Heaven On Earth - Education For Seventh Generation Rainbow Warriors

JONATHAN TURLEY

Res ipsa loquitur - The thing itself speaks

Jennifer Hofmann

Inspiration for soul-divers, seekers, and activists.

Occupy Democrats

Progressive political commentary/book reviews for youth and adults

V e t P o l i t i c s

politics from a liberal veteran's perspective

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

Rainbow round table news

Official News Outlet for the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association

The Extinction Protocol

Geologic and Earthchange News events

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Over the Rainbow Books

A Book List from Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table of the American Library Association

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: