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Archive for the ‘Legal Issues’ Category

The Republican Party is still running the name of Ronald Reagan out as the savior of the country.  Although everyone who follows politics today knows that Ronald Reagan would never get the nomination for President from the current Republican Party.  He would be branded as a RINO by today’s nuts.  Still he has been named a saint in the eyes of these same nuts who wouldn’t vote for him today.

The only real problem is that Reagan was anything but a savior to the country.  What Regan really did was sow the seeds for the total dismantling of our economic system.  Trickle down economics has proven to be the bane of economic growth.  Trickle down economics has actually hurt our middle-class to the point of non-existence.  The Reagan era brought in elitism in our economy that hadn’t been seen for over 60 years.  He totally took our economy and brought it to the brink of chaos and collapse.

One of the first side-shows that Reagan did was attempt to destroy the unions.  When Reagan took office, about 25 percent of the workforce belonged to a union.  Then Reagan worked hard to make sure that number dropped.  His first assault was on the Air Traffic Controllers.  When their union held a strike looking for better pay and working conditions, he fired them all to bust the union.  Elitists around the country hailed him as a hero because they knew that opened the door to target more unions.

Why was it so important to kill the unions?  Because unions gave the workers some power at the bargaining table.  Unions made it possible for workers to improve their pay and working conditions.  They made the middle-class possible to everyone.  With this power, unions made it possible for workers to share in the added profits of companies for their labor.  Something the owners did not want to share.  Plus union activities actually helped those workers not in a union shop.  Their companies had to follow suit or they would lose their workers to union shops.

By the end of his presidency, union membership fell to approximately 17 percent of the workforce.  Today, union membership is down to about 7 percent of the workforce.  This is a direct result of the union busting platform of Ronald Reagan.

On top of all of that, Reagan did nothing to help with the minimum wage.  Using 2013 dollars, the minimum wage in 1967 was about $9.67 per hour.  During the Reagan years, it fell to about $6.84.  Today it stands at $7.25.  By keeping the minimum wage low, companies made more profits but paid their employees less.  That took money out of the economy because the workers couldn’t afford the so-called luxury items they did before Reagan took office.

Reagan cut taxes.  Especially for the wealthy.  Reagan explained that if the wealthy had more money, it would trickle down to the rest of society.  More money for the rich meant more growth in business.  But, as the recession that followed his term in office proved, that theory was wrong.  By not allowing workers to share in the growth, money was drained from the economy and things got worse not better.  And, the debt grew under his leadership.

We are now going through an economic recovery.  The real problem is that for the first time in history, this recovery is making things worse for 90 percent of the population.  All of the benefits of this recovery are going to the top 10 percent of the population.  That has never happened before.  In past recoveries, the 90 percent made gains during a recovery.  Reagan and his policies have made that almost impossible today.

The Republican Party are still against raising the minimum wage.  They are still anti-union.  Look how the Senators from Tennessee meddled in the union vote at a Volkswagen plant in their state.  The Republicans still believe that the top 10 percent deserve all of the financial benefits of any recovery.

They claim that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs.  That theory has never proven to be correct.  Rather just the opposite has occurred.  By paying more in minimum wages, more people have expendable income.  More money is funneled into the economy, and more jobs are created because demand is higher.  In other words, everyone benefits from getting paid more.  Plus, raising the minimum wage helps increase other pay as well.  People who are now paid more than the minimum wage will see their pay increase as well.  That will be necessary to keep them in their positions rather than looking for better pay elsewhere.

Unions, especially after WWII actually created the middle-class.  At least they afforded a middle-class lifestyle to millions of workers who otherwise would never have seen it.  This is proven time-and-again by looking at those so-called “right to work” states where pay is below union wages.  In these states, workers do not receive the same pay as those working in union states.  As a result, their lifestyle is lower than their fellow workers.  And, without a union to back them up, they will never achieve the goal of living a middle-class lifestyle because owners have no incentive to bargain with them.

During the Reagan years, funding for education began to be slashed, especially in Republican controlled states.  Interest rates for student loans kept going up and up.  There was a time when people could actually work a full-time job and attend college in the evenings to gain the education they needed to move up.  Costs were low enough that huge student debt wasn’t as necessary getting your degree in this fashion.  Those days are gone too.  Because the deep cuts in education affect colleges and community colleges as well, the days of working while getting your education are all but gone.  The lack of funding from the states caused colleges and community colleges to increase their tuition rates, thus ensuring larger student debt.

Today’s Republicans are even against allowing people to refinance their student loans so they can get a lower rate.  That one really makes me scratch my head.  There is no reason not to allow people to refinance their student loans except that it takes away profits from banks.  But so does mortgage refinancing.  Republicans have no problem with that.

Unfortunately, until the workers see their plight as a result of these failed policies and start to unionize again, things won’t get much better.  Contrary to the Republican cry, unionization is not redistribution of wealth.  It is a way to ensure that the workers get to share in the benefits of their labor.

Median average income for the bottom 90 percent is 8 percent below what it was in 2007, adjusted for inflation.  It is a whopping 11 percent below that in 2000.  Yet, according to the Commerce Department report last Friday, the economy grew at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the second quarter of the year.  If you think these numbers look stunningly wrong, you are right.

The fact of the matter is that if you take money out of the economy by limiting the pay for workers, you are hurting the overall economic health of the country.  When workers have money to spend, the economy grows at a faster rate.  As anyone who took economics 101 can tell you, supply and demand determines the health of the economy.  The less demand, the poorer the economy.

This backwards trend started with Ronald Reagan.  He was not the savior of the country that the Republicans want you to think he was.  He was the purveyor of everything that is wrong with our economy today.  Ronald Reagan was simply an elitist that wanted to ensure that the elites of the country gained all of the benefits at the expense of the rest of the 90 percent of the population.  Reaganomics was and still is an abysmal failure.

As Bill Clinton once said, “it is the economy stupid.”  This November we have a choice to continue the downward spiral begun by Ronald Reagan, or stop it and move to a more fair economy.  The choice is yours.  We need to start looking at reality and vote our pocketbooks again.  It doesn’t matter what party you are affiliated with either.  Continuing these failed economic policies will hurt everyone.  Except the top 10 percent that is.  They are the true “constituency” of the Republican Party and Reaganomics.

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Last week there was that great gathering of conservatives called the Value Voters Summit.  Every time I research this Summit, I can’t help but think the name is an oxymoron.  Think about that.  Value Voters Summit.  It kind of makes you think that people with real values are attending the summit looking for candidates who share real values.  Then, out pops speakers like Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and others.  It appears that “Value Voters” don’t really have any “values” like they want you to believe.  Unless you consider greed, homophobia, Islamaphobia, and hatred of the poor as values.

Then, I couldn’t help but think that I had fallen through a time-warp or something.  I felt like I had gone to sleep and woke up in the middle-ages.  I heard Michelle Bachmann actually call for another Crusades.  Now, she didn’t actually use the word Crusades, but it was apparent that was what she meant.  In her speech, she said:

“Yes, Mr. President, it is about Islam!  And I believe if you have an evil of an order of this magnitude, you take it seriously. You declare war on it, you don’t dance around it. Just like the Islamic State has declared war on the United States of America.”

Now, if you studied any history at all, you can’t help but conclude that Ms. Bachmann is actually calling for a Crusade against Islam just like in the middle-ages.  Of course she failed to say that if we did “declare war on Islam” we would be fighting in almost every country in the world including in our own country.  See Islam is everywhere.

To be honest with you, I can’t remember who came up with the idea first.  Was it Michelle Bachmann or was it Bill O’Reilly?  See, old Bill has a solution to the problem as well.  And, it sounds very similar to Bachmann’s.  Bill said on his show that the answer is to put together a 25,000-person, well-paid, mercenary “world-wide strike force.”  He then said:  “You wouldn’t believe how many military people who have called me and gone, ‘that’s a great idea.’

Well, he was right about one thing.  No one believed him about the military people who said “that’s a great idea.”  As a matter of fact, no one on FOX News thought it was a very bright idea either.  Even Charles Krauthammer said: “You’ve gone from out of the box to off the wall. Do you really want to be running around the world responsible for a band of desperadoes?”

A guest military expert said: “It’s a terrible idea. We’re not going to solve this problem by creating a band of Marvel’s Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy.”  I guess it is kind of bad when your own side calls you nuts!

But, no one dared say anything bad about Michelle Bachmann and her call for a crusade.  I don’t know if no one paid any attention to her, of if she has fallen so low on the FOX radar that she doesn’t get a mention anymore.  But, anyone with a brain can tell you that those kinds of words are exactly what ISIS is looking to play up.  What better way to recruit more “converts” to their cause than play a recording of Ms. Stupid calling for a war against Islam?

There were a lot of other stupid moments at the Value Voters Summit as well.  Like Sarah Palin saying the White House is at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Just think, she was supposed to be McCain’s Vice President.  Guess it is a good idea he lost, she would still be looking for the White House for her first meeting.

She even weighed in on the ISIS thing too.  She said:   “Bush’s war was bad, but Barack’s bombs, oh baby those red lines, the strategery [sic] there that was thought up on the back nine, Barack’s bombs, oh they’re the bomb.”  Yes, she used the word “strategery.”

I don’t usually get to worked up about the Value Voters Summit.  I fully understand that the attendees don’t have any moral values.  But, when members of Congress, even out-going ones like Michelle Bachmann, start calling the second largest religion in the world “evil” and calls for the U.S. to “declare war” on it, we need to take notice.

Even more frightening than her speech was the applause she received for it.  Apparently, the Value Voters who attended this summit agree that we can declare war on a religion.  These are the same idiots who claim “religious persecution” because our laws won’t allow them to discriminate against those they don’t like.

This is the type of lunacy that creeps up when politicians are more interested in establishing a theocracy than working to make our country better.  The mid-terms are coming up.  You have a choice between reason and these folks.  Which are you going to choose?

 

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Bill Simmons at ESPN was suspended for three weeks for his rant on his podcast on the web magazine Grantland against Roger Goodell.  On the show he said:

I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the [Ray Rice] tape, and they knew what was on it. Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying, if you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. And for all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such fucking bullshit. It really is—it’s such fucking bullshit. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted.

To show how insulted he really was, he dared ESPN to discipline him:

I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Thank you. … Please call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.

ESPN took him up on his dare.  Remember, ESPN has a contract with the NFL to show Monday Night Football.  Since they received the contract, the majority of their programming is more about football than anything else.  So, it isn’t surprising that ESPN would not only suspend Simmons, but use the following statement to justify it.

Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent N.F.L. coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons … did not meet those obligations.

There is really more to this story than meets the eye.  The NFL has been engaged in a lot of negative publicity in the last few years.  Former players have sued the NFL over brain injuries caused by concussions.  More and more players have been accused of domestic violence.  More and more players have been suspended for drug use.

Problem is these are not new issues.  They have been around for years.  But until recently, the NFL has been able to backseat these issues so the fans don’t lose their enthusiasm for the sport.  With the most recent problems with domestic abuse by players, sponsors have expressed their “disappointment” with the league on how they handle such cases.  There hasn’t been a huge break of sponsorship, yet.  As one reporter said “although gaining some points for fighting abuse would be nice, it isn’t financially worth losing potential revenue from not advertising with the NFL.”

The other problem in making the NFL more decent in these matters is the fans.  Every game is still being sold out every week.  That means that none of the problems are having any impact on the NFL’s bottom line.  Until that happens, there will be no real change in how the NFL handles these cases.

I have said before that the NFL is today’s version of the Roman Gladiator Games.  Hell, Fox even plays up that idea in their ads for upcoming games.  This just proves that our lust for blood-sport seems ingrained in our genes.  Yes, I know, no one is actually killed at the end of the event as in gladiator fights in the coliseum, but the brutality of the sport is what seems to glue us to the TV every week.

It is true that all sports are a reflection of society.  As a result, society can make changes in how sports leagues handle social issues.  In the 1970s, there was a huge backlash against the NBA over drug use.  Players were constantly getting in trouble for using recreational drugs.  People stopped going to NBA games saying that the NBA had become a bunch of street gangs in shorts.

This drop in attendance and TV ratings forced the NBA to make some changes.  The league cleaned itself up.  It was either that or go out of business.  Yes, players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan helped turn things around.  But, it was also their “clean image” that helped bring people back to the game.  As a result, the NBA is about as popular as ever.

The Sterling crisis brought up another possible crisis for the league.  But, the commissioner handled it so quickly that it was resolved.  It was handled so well, that when another owner got caught with his own racial comments, he didn’t wait for the NBA to act.  He announced that he would sell his portion of the team as quickly as he could.  And, the league received praise over its handling of the situation.  That praise is something that is definitely lacking in these NFL cases.

The point here is that maybe Simmons was really insulted over the NFL and Roger Goodell’s recent new conference.  Simmons is widely known as a huge sports fan.  That is what makes his podcast so popular.  People look at him as a fan, not merely a reporter.  As such, wouldn’t it have been real nice if Simmons went on to say that the public should boycott the NFL until these matters are resolved?  What kind of shock-waves would have reverberated in the sports world if he had said that?  That would have been real news.

Football is not alone in problems.  As I mentioned the NBA went through problems.  Major League Baseball had their problems with PED’s.  In their case, it was the players who fought the dirty players, and they eventually won.  Contrary to popular belief, it was the players who fought for more drug testing to clean up the game.  Unfortunately, NFL players don’t seem to harbor the same fight to clean up their game.

The public proved with the NBA that they can force changes.  It is time for the public to force the NFL to make similar changes.  Look, football is a good sport.  The vast majority of players are good people who do wonderful work in the community.  But, the NFL is being tarnished by these abusers who have been getting away with it.

One step to force change is for sponsors to pull out.  Another step is for the players to revolt against the abusers and stop talking about “they are family” which only suggests they approve of domestic violence.  But, the best way to force change is for the fans to stop supporting the sport.  Let the fans stop going to games, or have TV ratings plummet for a few weeks, and you will see changes.

Despite the fact that many argue that sports figures are not heroes to our children, they are.  That alone should help ignite a fan revolt against the obvious reticent of the league to do something right.  I suggest that figures like Simmons should be leading the charge.  If he is truly “insulted” like he said he is he should leap on the opportunity.  Otherwise his comments are merely “fucking bullshit.”

 

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With all of the talk recently about domestic abuse, one has to wonder where men are learning that women are mere objects.  In order to justify, even in one’s own mind, domestic violence, one needs to believe that women are mere objects and possessions.  If women were considered as equal partners in life, domestic abuse would not be as rampant as it currently is.  Recent polls show that 1 in 4 women are victims of domestic abuse.  Furthermore, 1 in 5 men actually admit to hitting their partner.  That is very scary!

So, where do men learn that women are objects?  You need look no further than our schools.  Many schools have adopted dress codes.  Dress codes in and of themselves are not necessarily bad.  But, when dress codes are used to “slut shame” girls at the school, then things definitely have gone way too far.

Revolts have cropped up all across the nation over the dress code problem.  A vocal campaign has emerged after recent incidents angered students in New York, Utah, Florida, Oklahoma and other states, with some accusing schools of sexism and so-called “slut shaming”.  Many parents have expressed support of these students claiming the application of the dress codes can be capricious and unjust.

The mass walkouts have shown that this is not a matter of individual students.  Ruthann Robson, a City University of New York law professor and author of Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality and Democracy said:  “I do think these protests are a trend and I think it’s a good trend.”  Referring to the mass walkouts which showed that dress codes are related to public policy she said: “Such resistance points out the larger structural issues. There is a problem here of state power getting confused with matters of good taste.”

The protests have spawned the hashtag #iammorethanadistraction.  Schools have expressed concern such attire could “distract” other pupils and responded by sending students home or obliging them to wear oversized, baggy “shame suits”.  Hence the hashtag.

The most recent backlash came in Bingham high school in South Jordan, Utah where over 100 students walked out.  There students were turned away from their homecoming dance.  Allegedly, the school staff lined the girls against a wall as they arrived and banished about two dozen for having dresses which purportedly showed too much skin and violated the rules.

“It was embarrassing and degrading to them. It was shaming. She came home very upset,” said Chad Perhson, whose teenage daughter, Tayler Gillespie, was among those refused entry.  Gillespie wore a purple knee-length dress.  School administrators said that dress violated the dress code.  The code says “hemlines should go no higher than mid-thigh when seated”.   Only problem was that she was never asked to be seated.  She says the dress would not go higher than mid-thigh when seated.  Other students were allowed to enter the dance, including the Homecoming Queen, when they donned their dates jackets.

In Florida, Oakleaf high school made headlines over the dress code as well.  There Miranda Larkin, 15, was forced to wear oversized red sweatpants and a neon yellow shirt, each with “dress code violation” written on them, in punishment for wearing a skirt that was above the knee.  Her mother, Dianna Larkin, said the punishment amounted to humiliation and that she would file a complaint with the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The real problem with these dress codes is that they target women, not men.  Women are being targeted by school districts with these dress codes as being a “distraction”.  That is totally absurd!  The hashtag #iammorethanadistraction is being adopted by other students across the country.  Anna Huffman, 17, who has organized a petition asking Western Alamance, her North Carolina high school, to amend certain restrictions and to allow leggings, yoga pants and other comfortable attire.  “These codes really target women. You don’t see boys being sent home for wearing shorts above the knee.”

Huffman believes that such an approach condones boys seeing women as sexual objects.  She said:  “It perpetuates the idea that girls need to conform to satisfy the males. If girls are getting harassed, we should blame the boys, not the girls.”

On one of the hottest days of the year earlier this month administrators at Tottenville High School in Staten Island, New York, intercepted more than a hundred students, mostly girls, and ordered them to cover up or to summon parents with additional clothing. Many were given detention.  In response, girls returned to school wearing crop tops and tank tops in direct violation of the dress code.  A leaflet appeared urging school staff not to punish or humiliate girls for wearing shorts.   “It’s hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.”

This type of behavior by school staffs and school districts really has only one definition.  It is teaching boys that girls are objects and not people.  When boys see girls having to wear things like oversized red sweatpants and a neon yellow shirt stating “dress code violation”, what does that tell them?  That is a group of adults “slut shaming” girls simply because they don’t like the way the girl dressed.  It also tells boys that girls are the problem when it comes to abuse or sexual assault.

Our nation has always been more violent than other nations.  It is part of our culture.  No, it is not something to be proud of, but it is a fact.  Treating girls in school like they are objects or sluts is teaching our boys the wrong lesson.  This type of behavior by adults who are supposed to be “teaching” our children is just adding to our violent culture, especially against women.

It is hard to see how abuse and sexual assault can be reduced or eliminated when these arbitrary dress codes are allowed to humiliate and objectify our girls.  Instead we should be teaching boys that women are not sexual objects for their pleasure. We should be teaching them that women are people who deserve the same respect and dignity as men.  Until that happens, boys will continue to look at women as possessions.  That is the real crime in all of this.

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Gabrielle Giffords is beginning to scare the shit out of gun nuts with her ads about responsible gun control.  Her Super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions is beginning to run attack ads against those running for office who oppose even something as simple and necessary as universal background checks.  This has the gun nuts in a panic.  Why?  Because she has finally dropped the polite way she tried to convince both Republicans and Democrats to pass universal background checks without success.

Therefore, her PAC seems to think that the best way to fight for their cause is to let people know who is against changing the gun laws.  Both Giffords and her husband are gun owners.  They do not want the government to take away the guns from any law-abiding citizens.  They are looking for ways to keep them out of the hands of those who are not law-abiding citizens.

Recently, in Arizona, they ran an ad against the Republican, Martha McSally, running for Gabby’s old seat.  One features a wrenching testimonial from a woman named Vicki who weeps and stumbles over her words as she recounts how her 19-year-old daughter was hunted down and murdered by an enraged ex-boyfriend.

“He had threatened her before. I knew. I just knew,” Vicki says. A narrator then declares that McSally “opposes making it harder for stalkers to get a gun.”

Almost immediately the right-wing and gun nuts began howling their disapproval.  Can you imagine that someone might actually use the same political campaign tactics that groups like Americans for Prosperity or Citizens United regularly use would actually be used against one of their favorites?  How horrible!

These are the same people who talk regularly about the Second Amendment and the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns.  They are also the same people who say that “bad guys” should not own guns.  Yet, they are the same people who vote against any changes to the law including universal background checks that just might keep “bad guys” from owning a gun.

Somehow in their warped brain, keeping a stalker from owning a gun and shooting and killing another person is an infringement against law-abiding citizens right to own guns.  I have heard that argument all of my life, and it still makes no sense to anyone who has a functioning brain.  The opponents of the ad are even calling out the PAC for “smearing” Gabby’s good name.  Like Giffords had nothing to do with the ad.

The editorial board of the Arizona Republic is disgusted with the Vicki ad. “It is base and vile. It exploits a family’s tragedy to score cheap political points.  And when the ad makes news because it goes too far, Gabrielle Giffords makes news with it. Because it’s her group.”  But just to make sure everyone knows that the Arizona Republic is only blaming the group, the writers add:

So we ask again, Americans for Responsible Solutions, do you know what you’re doing?

Do the people who control your messaging know they are marring the legacy of a congresswoman known for her decency and good judgment, who practiced civility in office with such consistency she did not just reach across the aisle but found cherished friends there? [...]

Perhaps the Tucson shooting changed Gabby Giffords. Perhaps she is the one who controls the message. But we doubt it.

That’s not who she is.

See?  They don’t want people to think that they are saying anything bad about Giffords.  Obviously she would never do any such thing as use a type of “in-your-face” ad.  She is too nice for that.  Obviously, it is the group who are behind this and the Arizona Republic believes they are doing it behind Giffords back.

Besides, has the Arizona Republic now taken the stance that only they know who Giffords is?  Are they the ones who are supposed to write her legacy?  Giffords tried using “civility” to make changes to gun laws.  She was blocked by the very people she is now targeting in her ads.  Why wouldn’t she switch gears?  She was brutally shot in the head by a wacko with a gun.  Since then, she has witnessed mass shootings at a movie theater and a school.  She apparently has had enough.

The gun nuts and right-wing media have been real quick to make heroes out of crack-pots like Cliven Bundy and the crazy militia people who showed up willing to shoot Federal Law Enforcement officials over illegal grazing by Bundy’s cows.  Yet when someone has the audacity to show an ad that shows the trauma these mass shooting cause, they are the first to cry “foul.”

I think we need to see more of these ads at the national level.  We need to see just how devastating these shootings are to the families of the victims.  The case that the Vicki ad talks about is something that happens way too often.

I believe that Gabrielle Giffords and her PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions is just what we need during this election.  I have believed for a long time that something needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of the so-called “bad guys.”  Every time someone like Giffords has tried, too many politicians have blocked their efforts.  Would it be too far of a stretch to call these politicians abettors to these awful crimes since they won’t do anything to help prevent them?   We will never have a chance to get responsible solutions until the abettors of the gun nuts are voted out of office.

Keep up the good work Gabby!

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The media is still abuzz with the NFL and its Domestic Violence problem.  The media is still talking about it.  People are still calling for Roger Goodell’s head, and the right-wing media is still calling all the fuss “the chickification” of the NFL.  Some people with more sane minds are actually beginning to speak about this issue with more intelligence.  Some are saying that at least the NFL problems have finally brought this abuse to light and open discussion.

I am not so sure that is really the case.  Yes, we keep hearing about all of the NFL players involved in domestic abuse cases, but we rarely hear about any cases from any other field.  Yet there is one case that is even more egregious than all of the NFL cases and you probably haven’t even heard about it.  This case involves a District Court Judge in Alabama.

District Court Judge Mark E. Fuller was arrested and charged for hitting, kicking, and dragging his wife around a luxury hotel room last month.  He has not been removed from his job either!   The problem is that removing a federal judge from the bench is not as easy as people may think.  Even if he is convicted of a felony, that does not necessarily mean he will be removed.  When removing a judge from the bench, everything is based on his job performance as a judge and not his personal behavior.

This is a real problem when you consider that this man sits in judgment of others.  How is it possible that someone who has been arrested for domestic violence can judge the behavior of others?  Yet, that is exactly what is going on here.

Police responded to a 911 call and reported Fuller’s wife, Kelli Fuller, had “visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead.”  She told police her husband “pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her… and that he “hit her in the mouth several times with his hands.”  This sordid information was released back in August.  Even before the Ray Rice incident hit the headlines.  Yet, there was virtually no coverage.

Like Ray Rice, Judge Fuller entered pre-trial diversion, or “offender-rehabilitation” programs that required counseling, and would be able to expunge his records if he fulfills the requirements of the program.  As a result, there will be no trial in the matter.  So, like Rice, he was able to avoid punishment for his abuse.

Of course Judge Fuller issued a statement: “This incident has been very embarrassing to me, my family, friends and the court.  I deeply regret this incident and look forward to working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but that last part of his statement is troubling to me.  The part that says “working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved” is something that shows no remorse on the part of the Judge.

Yes, working to resolve these difficulties with his family is a good place to start.  But, saying “where they should be resolved” is telling everyone that the judge thinks it is no one’s business but his family’s.  That is where I have a problem.  Leaving domestic abuse to be settled among the family is the worst thing you can do.  The victims need protection from their abusers.  Not left to “resolve these difficulties” inside the family.  Sorry, but I have seen too many times when resolving difficulties inside the family only led to more abuse.

There has finally been some pushback about Judge Fuller keeping his job.   “Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, explained away or swept under the rug. It must be confronted head on, and abusers just be held accountable,” Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) told the Montgomery Advertiser last week.  Yet, it took six weeks for either of the United States Senators from Alabama to voice their opinions calling for Judge Fuller to step down.

Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.) said in a statement posted on her website, “If an NFL player can lose his job because of domestic violence then a federal judge should definitely not be allowed to keep his life-time appointment to the federal bench.”

So, like Ray Rice, a Federal Judge was arrested for beating his wife in a hotel.  Like Rice he avoided trial by entering a pre-trial diversion program.  But, unlike Rice, he has so far kept his job as a Judge.  Worst of all, you probably haven’t heard a single thing about this in the national media.  You probably won’t unless he actually steps down from his post.  Then, the right-wing media will surely jump all over it and defend the Judge as much as they have defended the NFL abusers.  I am sure they will tell you that it was all Mrs. Fuller’s fault.

In the meantime, people will be having their cases heard by this Judge.  They will go into court expecting a fair trial from a Judge that should be in jail for abusing his wife.  NFL players should be suspended, punished and/or fired for their abusive actions.  So should Federal Judges.  Yet, as usual, the double-standards in these kinds of cases remains fully visible for all to see.

 

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I have always been a firm believer in the thought that history is extremely important to the future.  I believe that the axiom of “if we fail to remember history, we are doomed to repeat it.”  I further believed that all of the “reforms” that are being introduced to “improve” public education was simply a money scam to enrich corporations.  While that is partially true, there is a more insidious element to these so-called reforms.

I am not just talking about programs like “no child left behind” or “race to the top” either.  Some of the so-called reformers are truly just trying to line their pockets with tax money.  Others are more quietly trying to distort education into more of a propaganda machine.  After all, the easiest way to ensure the survivability of your ideas, even if they have failed miserably, is to indoctrinate children in school.  Forget the facts, just each what you want taught so future generations believe your ideas.

We have seen this type of indoctrination in the world before.  Both history and science were radically changed in Germany in the 30s to prove the superiority of the Arian Race.  In communist countries like Russia and China, indoctrination was the name of the game.  They did not teach capitalism in schools.  To them, capitalism was evil and they were going to make sure their children hated it as much as they did.  In every case, this indoctrination worked.  At least until their governments fell.

Here in the U.S. we are facing the same problems.  The trouble is that no one is really paying attention to the indoctrination that is being forced on our children.  In this case, the guilty parties are political activists not necessarily the government.  Yes, it is only possible in states where these activists gain enough political power to get their idiots elected to office.

The major contributor and therefore the major usurper of education is currently the State of Texas.  That is because of its size, if they approve a certain text-book, that is usually the only one offered by publishers to other states.  Which means that regardless of where you live, your children are potentially exposed to their indoctrination propaganda.

The main culprits in this movement is a combination of right-wing conservatives and the Conservative Christian Cult.  We have all seen the arguments over creationism being taught as legitimate science.  But, that is just the beginning of their plot.  They have gone way beyond the idea of creationism.

Texas has tried to change text books in history and other academia by inserting what is basically been called lies and disinformation.  A group of 10 scholars in politics and history examined these text books and concluded that they are intended to trick students into believing right-wing myths about government, racism and whether or not America is supposed to be a “Christian nation.”

Despite the fact that the founding fathers founded our country based on “Enlightenment” or philosophical ideals, these text books are trying to make children believe that it was founded on Christian doctrine.  They even go so far as saying that the founders drew inspiration from Moses, on the grounds that Moses created the idea of a “written code of behavior.”   This despite that Thomas Jefferson argued that there should be a “wall of separation between church and state.”  And the fact that civilizations believed in codified behavior long before Moses was even born.

Texas schools push sex “education” that rarely even mentions contraception.  As a predictable result, Texas maintains an abysmally high teen pregnancy rate while teen pregnancy rates in other states are dropping.

On top of this, they even try to argue that segregation was really okay.  One book argues that white and black schools had “similar buildings, buses, and teachers,” which the researchers argue “severely understates the tremendous and widespread disadvantages of African-American schools.”

Of course, they also found a whole lot of propaganda supporting unregulated capitalism.  One book argues that taxes have gone up since 1927, but that “society does not appear to any more civilized today than it was” back then.  Of course things like the federal highway system, reduced poverty and sickness, and improved education aren’t mentioned as making “society more civilized.”  Imagine that!

So, what do some of the people who reviewed these text books really think?  Emile Lester, a political science associate professor at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, was one of the reviewers. The State Board of Education and “these textbooks have collaborated to make students’ knowledge of American history a casualty of the culture wars,” he writes in his report.

Edward Countryman, a professor of history at Southern Methodist University who also worked on the report, concurred, accusing the State Board of creating textbook standards that have a “combination of incoherence, poor construction, and attempted indoctrination” in lieu of actual intent to educate students.

The Texas State Board of Education made it very clear that they intended to push right-wing ideology on the students from the very beginning.  In July, the Texas Freedom Network reviewed the 140 people selected to be on the panels reviewing textbooks. Surprise, being an actual expert in politics or history guaranteed you couldn’t get a spot ont he board.  More than a dozen Texas academics with expertise who applied were denied.  Yet conservative political activists and individuals without social studies degrees or teaching experience got places on the panels.

Only three of the current 140 members of the panel are even current faculty members at Texas universities. Yet, a pastor who once owned a car dealership somehow got a spot.  So, 140 people in Texas seems to have a large sway of what is put into textbooks, even in your state, and only three have the credentials usually needed for such work.

Before you think that this is no big deal, remember your history.  Propaganda and indoctrination are things that made Germany, Russia, China, and many other dictatorships last longer than they should have.  If you can get to the children, you can control the future.  The Constitution and actual freedom don’t mean anything to these people.  They are only interested in making sure their failed ideas continue to resonate in the national dialogue.

I strongly urge all parents to read the text books your children are using in the classroom.  If you don’t, you won’t even know that your child is being indoctrinated into a belief system whether you agree with it or not.  In every case in history, that was the beginning and the reason many dictatorships endured.  Although the Cult is more interested in forming a theocracy, a theocracy is a form of dictatorship.  As some have already shown in history, it is easy to do.  All you need do is rewrite history and ignore true science.

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