Friday, June 29, 2012

Republicans Against Thinking

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled Obamacare is constitutional, we can all huddle in terror and tremble for our lost liberty, the death of freedom, the complete government takeover of health care, and last but not least, death panels.

Cue fear reaction.

We were warned.

Those of us who are even moderately informed, and have a slight ability for critical thinking, won't be holding our breaths waiting to be shown those death panels the Right Wing authoritarians were shrieking about not so long ago.

Yes they lied. No matter. They will always lie.

The greatest threat to authoritarians is the ability of people to think for themselves.

It's time the Radical Right did something about this dire threat to their propaganda and power.

Let’s look to Texas Republicans for their solution to neutralize this threat. Check this from Education Week:

"Texas GOP: No More Critical Thinking in Schools"

The 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform, adopted June 9 at the state convention in Forth Worth, seems to take a stand against, well, the teaching of critical thinking skills. Read it for yourself:

“We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

Right. We all know whose “beliefs” and “authority” are threatened by critical thinking.

Not surprisingly, it turns out the authoritarians are urging for more authority.

In that same section of the document, labeled "Educating Our Children," the Texas Republicans go on to state that they "oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten." And, in a statement that human rights groups (and many others) will find difficult to stomach, the platform says, "We recommend that local school boards and classroom teachers be given more authority to deal with disciplinary problems. Corporal punishment is effective and legal in Texas."

While corporal punishment is in fact legal in Texas—and 18 other states, according to The Center for Effective Discipline—we're still poking around to find the research backing its effectiveness in the Lone Star State. Nothing so far. Readers, let us know what you come across.

And while you’re at it, let us know where we can find one of those death panels, too.

Nothing so far? Keep looking. The “liberal media” must be hiding them somewhere.

Authoritarian leaders would never misinform us and demand we take their word for anything, right?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day

Typically we see everyone put their flags out on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or Veterans Day. Since it is not an official federal holiday, most Americans probably don’t know today is Flag Day.

A quick Wikipedia reference tells us:

In the United States Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date; Congress adopted "the American continental army" after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.

Once again I fly over our house my late father-in-law’s flag I inherited. I feel a strong sense to honor the man and his flag and our country in doing so. He was a Bronze Star veteran of Patton’s Third Army in the Second World War. His 318th Infantry Regiment was the infantry support for the famous Fourth Armored Division’s breakthrough to relieve Bastogne in December of 1944. I’ve been an avid reader of WWII history after learning of his service, and that of my uncle, who was awarded a Silver Star during the same Battle of the Bulge.

For perspective, America’s bloodiest battle cost us unimaginably horrific losses of over 10,000 killed, 47,000 wounded, and 23,000 missing.

This is but one reason I want to see his flag flying as long as possible. It represents the very best of our national spirit of freedom.

Yes, I am aware that the flag was also a symbol and representation of entirely different things for American Indians through history. Fortunately that was an exception and not the rule.

We need to be watchful that our flag does not become a symbol of theft, conquest and aggression.

And we need to remember the flag, for all it represents, is still a symbolic image and representation of something greater. It represents our nation, our people, our land, our dreams, our history, and our future.

And our Constitution.

As the late great Molly Ivans reminded us, former Rep. Craig Washington once said during a lonely soliloquy on the floor of the Texas Senate: "I prefer a man who will burn the flag and then wrap himself in the Constitution to a man who will burn the Constitution and then wrap himself in the flag."

Figuratively far too much of that has been going on the past decade.

Now if only we can bring more attention to Constitution Day (Citizens Day) September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.

We need to wave that more often.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Truth Spill

They say a gaffe in Washington is when a politician tells the truth. When a Republican does it, it's more than a mere gaffe. He's going to be in trouble.

From The Virginian-Pilot:

Stimulus helped Virginia weather crisis

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, wandered off script somewhat Sunday as a surrogate for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, saying that President Barack Obama's stimulus measures helped his state weather the economic crisis.

McDonnell, a potential vice presidential candidate who has sought to walk a tightrope between conservatives and moderates, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that federal assistance aided Virginia in balancing its budget, but he said it had no positive long-term impact.

"Did it help us in the short run with health care and education and spending to balance the budget? Sure," McDonnell said. "Does it help us in the long term to really cut the unemployment rate? I'd say no."

During his CNN appearance, when asked whether Obama deserved "just a tiny bit of credit" for helping the economy, McDonnell said: "Well, sure. I think there are national policies that have had some impact."

Oops. Some truth was inadvertently spilled by a Republican. He’d better get back with the program. He's going to have to lie about how tax cuts for the rich are going to create jobs and deregulating Wall Street will lead to prosperity for all.
Ah, here we go.
McDonnell also criticized Obama for "overburdensome regulations" and argued that Republican-led states have fared better during the downturn and struggling recovery.

"Think how much better we'd do if we had President Romney," he said.

I'm afraid that little backtrack shall elicit little mercy upon him in the court of King Rushbo the Corpulent.

He's toast.