Miranda Blue's blog

Texas Approves Textbooks With Moses As Honorary Founding Father

The Texas State Board of Education approved several dozen social studies textbooks after a contentious battle over their treatment of subjects including climate change, the role of slavery in the Civil War, Islam, and biblical influence in America’s founding. One major publisher, however, withdrew a book from consideration, saying that it was unable to meet all the standards set by the school board.

The Texas Freedom Network, which live-blogged today’s vote, said that some problematic material had been removed from the proposed textbooks, including climate denial and “offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens,” but that references to Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy remained. But TFN notes that publishers posted a number of last-minute changes to the textbooks yesterday, leaving board members and observers without time to figure out exactly what was in the approved texts:

The Texas Education Agency posted scores of pages of publisher comments and textbook revisions after the last public hearing on Tuesday. Miller said scholars did not have an opportunity to review and comment on the numerous changes publishers have submitted since the last public hearing on Tuesday. Some of those changes appeared to have been negotiated with state board members behind closed doors.

During a months-long process, publishers made a number of improvements to their textbooks. Those improvements included removing inaccurate information promoting climate change denialism; deleting offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens; making clearer that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War; and revising passages that had promoted unfair negative stereotypes of Muslims. Scholars and the general public had ample opportunity to review and comment on those revisions.

However, the new textbooks also include passages that suggest Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and that the roots of democracy can be found in the Old Testament. Scholars from across the country have said such claims are inaccurate and mislead students about the historical record.

The textbooks were approved despite a last-minute attempt by Truth in Texas Textbooks, a group with ties to the anti-Muslim organization ACT! for America, to remove accurate information about Islam, reduce coverage of civil rights (which it found to promote unsavory “racial politics”), and insert information about Young Earth Creationism sourced to the conservative website Conservapedia. [TFN’s summary of Truth In Texas Textbooks’ complains is in this pdf.]

The Texas Tribune adds that the group’s last-minute request also included downplaying the environmental impact of coal mining and noting in a chapter about colonization that Native Americans already discriminated against and oppressed each other:

The Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition, all but unheard from for months while new social studies textbooks and instructional materials were being vetted, submitted a 469-page report in late October identifying more than 1,500 “factual errors, omission of facts, half-truths and agenda biases” in proposed materials.

Among its objections: A passage on coal mining should say it has “minimal effect on the environment"; a chapter on Spanish colonization of Latin America should point out the “continuous discrimination and oppression practiced by the native American peoples on each other”; and a statement that Shariah law requires religious tolerance of non-Muslims should be removed.

...

The group was formed by retired Lt. Col. Roy White, a Tea Party activist who also leads the Bexar County Chapter of ACT! for America, an organization dedicated to fighting extremist Islam. Its founder, Brigitte Gabriel, is known for her views that Muslims in the United States pose a danger to national security.

TFN tells us that it appears that Truth in Texas Textbooks did not succeed in getting any "substantive changes" into the books.

Tony Perkins: Gay People Are 'Excluding Themselves' From 'Divine And Natural Reality' Of Marriage

Tony Perkins, back from the interfaith conference at the Vatican which he attended along with American anti-gay religious leaders including Rick Warren and Russell Moore, gave an interview reflecting on the experience to the National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez yesterday.

The Family Research Council president told Lopez that at the conference, “Apart from the pope, almost all of the standing ovations were received by American evangelicals.” When Lopez pressed him on whether the Religious Right should soften its stance on gay rights and marriage equality in order to build a movement going forward, Perkins disagreed.

“It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals” from marriage, Perkins said, “it is that those who reject such complementarity [between men and women] are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.”

He added that it's not insulting to imply that homosexuality is "unnatural" because "when it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.”

Q: It seems difficult if not near impossible these days to talk about men and women and marriage without sounding like you’re excluding those who are attracted to the same sex. Is it in fact an impossible task?

A: I believe this is why the focus of the colloquium was on “The Complementarity of Man and Woman.” It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals; it is that those who reject such complementarity are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.

Q: When you talk about a natural order, isn’t there a danger of making it seem some are unnatural? That could seem the case with those with same-sex attraction and those who are not married.

A: When it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.

Q: It still escapes a lot of people why same-sex marriage is a threat to any man and woman’s marriage or marriage itself. If marriage and family are in crisis, why not open it up to more?

A: The crisis in marriage has grown in proportion to the degree to which society has allowed it to deviate from what it was designed to be, a life-long monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.

Kobach: Nonvoters Were 'Sitting In Front Of The TV All Day Talking On Their Obama Phones'

In the same radio program in which he considered the possibility that the Obama administration had opened the door to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites by Latino immigrants and called President Obama an underachieving product of “affirmative action culture,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach cited a racist meme to mock people who didn’t vote in the 2014 elections, saying that nonvoters were just “sitting in front of the TV all day talking on their Obama Phones.”

Kobach made the remarks on his Sunday radio program on Kansas City’s KCMO after taking a call from a listener who told him he had taken a bike to the polls because his truck was in the shop.

His voice dripping with sarcasm, Kobach told the listener: “Thank you so much for taking your rickety bike to vote, because I believe that your voice should be heard because you cared enough to vote. But President Obama thinks that the people who were sitting in front of the TV all day talking on their Obama Phones who didn’t vote, he speaks for those people. And I’m not saying any particular people, but I’m just saying someone who didn’t vote has an equal voice than you who actually got on your bike because you didn’t have a motor vehicle to get to the polls.”

Kobach, a former advisor to Mitt Romney and a driving force behind anti-immigrant laws and voting restrictions throughout the country, has been using his own state as a laboratory for restrictive voting laws, recently implementing a strict ID requirement that left about 20 percent of the state’s voter registration applications in limbo before election day.

Michael Peroutka: Immigration Action Is An 'Act Of Treason' And Local Governments Should Defy It

Michael Peroutka, a Christian reconstructionist who peddles radical theocratic views at his Institute for the Constitution, recently got a new platform for what he calls his ‘American view’ of government when he was elected as a Republican to a county council position in Maryland.

Although Peroutka has yet to take office, he’s already giving a taste of what it will mean to implement his radical views at a local level. In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace on Tuesday, Peroutka urged state and county governments to simply ignore any White House order deferring the deportation of some undocumented immigrants, and instead work independently to “incarcerate” or “deport” immigrants covered by the order.

Deace asked Peroutka what he, as a newly minted GOP elected official, would do about the “Marxist in the White House” who is “supposed to be protecting us from invasion, and here he is implementing one.”

“This action on the part of the president is the action of somebody who hates America and is seeking to destroy America,” Peroutka responded. “I don’t think it can be interpreted any other way. It certainly is an act of treason because it’s aiding and abetting the enemies of America and giving them comfort and aid.”

Peroutka urged Republicans in Congress to move to impeach the president, and added that governors and county executives throughout the country “should resist this in every way they can.”

He advised that local governments tell the president: “We’re not abiding by it, we are still going to either incarcerate or seek to remove and deport those who are here illegally. We’re not going to follow suit and give them aid and comfort like he wants us to do, even though he’s bribing us with money to do it.”

“We as local authorities and as state authorities should resist this scheme,” Peroutka said. “If we did, then it couldn’t go through.”

Earlier this year, Peroutka declared that all laws passed by the Maryland General Assembly were invalid because that body had violated “God’s law” in implementing marriage equality.

Ben Carson: Obama Has 'Nefarious Agenda' To Bring In Government-Dependent Voters

In an interview this morning with Newsmax TV, conservative activist and potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson insisted that President Obama’s executive action providing temporary deportation relief for some undocumented immigrations is part of a “nefarious agenda” to bring government-dependent voters to the U.S.

“I think he’s very smart, he’s very clever, he’s very scheming,” Carson told host J.D. Hayworth. “And, boy, if he could use that intellect on behalf of the American people rather than on behalf of his nefarious agenda, we would be doing quite well.”

“Essentially, is he just trying to instead of get out the vote, bring in the vote?” asked Hayworth, a former GOP congressman from Arizona. “Is this all designed to have new voters — despite the fact he claims they’re not going to get citizenship — is the long-term goal to bring in a new class of voters dependent on government?”

“Of course it is,” Carson replied.

Later in the interview, Carson offered his recommendation for how Republicans in Congress should respond to the president’s announcement: by shutting down the government, but only the parts that are “important to the president” and not any parts that will “hurt the American people.”

“I hope they put in front of them a whole list of the things that can be defunded, and then look specifically at the ones that are going to hurt [Obama] and those around him. Defund those things. I don’t want things that are going to hurt the American people,” Carson said, claiming that during the sequester, President Obama chose to cut funding on programs that would “inflict the most pain on the American people.”

“It’s not an all-or-none phenomenon,” he said. “You don’t have to shut down the important parts of the government. You just defund the things that are important to the president.”

Carson did not provide any specifics of programs to cut that would hurt Obama but not anybody else.

Allowing DACA Recipients In Military 'Unbelievably Dangerous' Says Numbers USA Spokeswoman

In an interview with Frank Gaffney on Tuesday, Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations at the anti-immigrant group Numbers USA, said that any opening of the U.S. military to some people who came to the country illegally would be an “unbelievably dangerous” attack on the military’s “morale” and “integrity.”

“I think this president, not only is he intent on transforming America, he is intent on decimating our military in every way possible, in attacking its morale, in attacking its integrity,” she said. “It is just unbelievably dangerous to put illegal aliens inside the gates with our troops. It is unconscionable the things this president is doing to our military.”

“Well, I really think of it as a wrecking operation, and this fits the profile for sure,” Gaffney agreed.

In September, the Defense Department issued a new policy expanding to a small number of DREAMers an existing Bush-era program that allow some noncitizens with specialized skills serve in the military. USA Today explained the policy change:

The Pentagon program is capped at 1,500 recruits per year. Officials say it's unclear how many of those might be unlawful DACA status immigrants as opposed to others who are also eligible for military service under MAVNI, including those with legal, nonpermanent visas such as students or tourists.

Estimates suggest between 1.2 million and 2.1 million children, teenagers and young adults in the U.S. have no legal immigration status but meet the criteria for the DACA program. Those targeted by recruiters under the MAVNI program likely will be immigrants with language skills critical to national security, such as Arabic, Chinese, Pashto or Persian.

DACA status is granted by the Department of Homeland Security and includes a background check.

On average, the military recruits about 5,000 noncitizens each year, nearly all of them permanent U.S. residents, or so-called "green card" holders. Starting in 2006, the military began accepting some foreigners with nonpermanent visas, such as students or tourists, if they had special skills that are highly valued.

After entering military service, foreigners are eligible for expedited U.S. citizenship. Since 2001, more than 92,000 foreign-born service members have become citizens while serving in uniform.

The MAVNI program began in 2008 and remains a pilot program. The Pentagon notified Congress on Thursday that the program, which was due to expire at the end of this fiscal year, will be extended for another two years and will for the first time include DACA-status immigrants.

The military services are not required to accept recruits under MAVNI. In recent years, the Army has been the only service to accept a significant number of recruits under the program. The Air Force has accepted only a few and the Navy and Marine Corps have not sought MAVNI recruits in recent years.

Video: The Worst Of The GOP's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

As President Obama prepares to announce the steps that he will take to provide temporary deportation relief for some undocumented immigrants, it’s important to remember why he’s taking this step. It’s not because Obama and Democrats refuse to work with Republicans to address pressing immigration problems. It’s because a small but influential segment of the Republican caucus refuses to do anything to fix the immigration system.

Today, we at People For the American Way joined with American Bridge to release a video highlighting the kind of rhetoric from congressional Republicans that has sunk any kind of attempt at bipartisan immigration reform.

Some of the examples of anti-immigrant rhetoric from GOP members of Congress will be familiar to RWW readers. And, sadly, we have plenty more where they came from.

William Gheen Suggests County Sheriffs Arrest Obama For Immigration Action

A national organization of county sheriffs will be gathering in Washington next month to protest President Obama’s executive action on immigration, and anti-immigrant activist William Gheen has an idea for what they can do in their spare time: arrest the president!

Gheen, the head of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, told WorldNetDaily today that the sheriffs have the “power and ability to arrest the president of the United States” and should consider deciding to “use their power to do this.”

Bristol County, Massachusetts, Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who is organizing the event, did not comment on Gheen’s suggestion, but did tell WND that the Obama administration is using immigration to “overburden the existing system until it collapses” in order to replace it with a “socialist system.”

He also suggested that the U.S. government emulate Israel’s intense militarized border security on the southern border.

Hodgson said he has been calling for officials in Washington to bring in Israeli border security officials as consultants to help map out a comprehensive border security plan.

“Frankly … because nobody is better at border security than the Israelis,” he said.

Hodgson said he believes there’s more to it than just Washington lacking the will to do what’s right. He believes the Obama administration has sinister motives.

“They want to build a socialist system,” he said.

And how do you do that?

“You overburden the existing system until it collapses,” he said. “We can’t let it happen. Our Founding Fathers would disown us if we let it happen.”

Gheen, of ALIPAC, said he had a suggestion that he wishes the sheriffs would consider when they pay a visit to the nation’s capital next month.

“If the sheriffs are heading to Washington, how about suggesting the sheriffs take some of their best men to D.C. and they use their power and ability to arrest the president of the United States?” Gheen said. “I think if the sheriffs are going to Washington on Dec. 10 and the president continues to violate the Constitution of the United States, that they should consider arresting the president of the United States. What if the sheriffs decided to use their power to do this?”

Steve King Compares Immigration Standoff To Fighting ISIS; Keeps Shutdown, Censure & Impeachment On The Table

In an interview with WorldNetDaily today, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, compared the congressional GOP’s standoff with President Obama over immigration reform to the fight against ISIS, saying that the Republican caucus should be prepared to “use all the constitutional means at our disposal” and not take a government shutdown or impeachment proceedings off the table.”

“The president is holding a right hostage to an ultimatum,” he said. “We have a right to secure borders, we have a right to demand and expect that our president enforce the law, but he’s giving us an ultimatum that Congress can either pass amnesty or he’s going to commit it by a constitutional violation.”

“I think that we can’t take cutting off funding off the table,” he continued. “It’s about the equivalent of saying in the fight against ISIS that there will be no boots on the ground. Republicans should not make those kind of mistakes that the president has made in his messaging to ISIS. So that means that we should use all the constitutional means at our disposal.”

He added that “I want to do the minimum possible to restore the constitution,” which could include “cutting off the funding,” passing a motion to censure the president, or impeachment, which he called “the last resort, not one that I favor at all.”
 

 

Kobach Wonders If Hispanic Majority Would Conduct 'Ethnic Cleansing' In U.S.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a leader in the anti-immigrant movement, said during his Sunday radio program that it’s possible that a Hispanic majority in the U.S. could conduct an “ethnic cleansing.”

Kobach made his remarks in response to a caller who asked, “What happens, if you know your history, when one culture or one race or one religion overwhelms another culture or race?”

Claiming that immigrant rights groups are “calling for the return of the Spanish territory, which could be almost half of the United States,” the caller warned, “When one race or culture overwhelms another culture, they run them out or they kill them. And it’s a bigger issue than just being Democrats. And they know in numbers, once the numbers are so bad, they can pretty much do whatever they want to do.”

“What protects us in America from any kind of ethnic cleansing is the rule of law, of course,” Kobach responded. “And the rule of law used to be unassailable, used to be taken for granted in America. And now, of course, we have a president who disregards the law when it suits his interests. So, while I normally would answer that by saying, ‘Steve, of course we have the rule of law, that could never happen in America,’ I wonder what could happen. I still don’t think it’s going to happen in America, but I have to admit, things are strange and they are happening.”

Earlier in the program, Kobach used a more subtle form of racial dog-whistle by accusing Democrats of “replacing American voters” with "socialist" Hispanic voters. While reading polls about political attitudes broken out by race, Kobach said that “if you look at it through an ethnic lens,” Democrats want to create a “a locked-in vote for socialism” by “replacing American voters with newly legalized aliens.”

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