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The former President of the United States openly admitted to violating US Law and international law when he acknowledged ordering water-boarding, an action for which in previous times we have court-martialed our own troops, to which we objected when it was done to our military, and which is clearly banned by both US law and the International Convention on Torture, which as a ratified treaty is according to Article VI "the supreme law of the land."  Yet the current administration refuses to even investigate the wrongdoings of the administration before it, thereby in the case of Mr. Bush perhaps demonstrating that Richard Nixon's assertion to David Frost that if the president does it, it is not against the law is now true.

Tuesday the voters of South Carolina Florida elected to the US House of representatives a man who was fired from the Army when he should have been prosecuted for firing a gun next to the ear of a prisoner he was interrogating.

And then there is this morning . . .

This morning I come to Daily Kos and see this diary in which the Obama Justice Department intervened in behalf of an Arizona law that seems to me a clear violation of the establishment clause, and a wealth of jurisprudence that limited government involvement with religion, even to the point of arguing that much of that jurisprudence was wrongly decided.

All of these are clearly contradict what our government is supposed to be.  What then do I do, teach what our government should be, or what our government is becoming?

I first began wrestling with the issue of what the hell I was doing teaching about a government that was disappearing before our eyes when the US Senate passed the Military Commissions Act.  That was s severe wake-up call:  at the time, I pointed out the implications of that legislation to my students, especially to those who were not yet citizens, that on the authority of the President with no oversight from anyone the Congress was willing to allow the Chief Executive to deny accused persons protections guaranteed not only under the Constitution but going back to a document the 800th anniversary of whose enactment is now less than 5 years away -  Magna Carter Carta guaranteed a right to trial by jury, and habeas corpus is a principle basic of a government of laws and not of men.

Somehow I remember a candidate who told us repeatedly that things would be different when he was elected, because of his respect for the Constitution, for example

I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution.

I do not see that respect in many of the actions of this administration, whether it is the refusal to examine the wrongdoings of its predecessor and hold wrongdoers to account, its continued prosecutions of trumped-up cases stemming from the so-called "War on Terror,"  its apparent eagerness to prosecute people under the Espionage Act for exposing wrongdoing - wrongdoing that itself is more harmful to the real interests of this nation as a democracy than any law that was broken . . .

I read the arguments in the diary to which I refer offered by Neal Katyal and my stomach turns.  Perhaps it is my own religious peregrination that makes me sensitive on matters of the establishment clause.  I was born Jewish, spent time in the Orthodox Church which while an ancient form of Christianity is considered alien and weird by many of an evangelical or fundamentalist bent, and am now a Friend by Persuasion, a Quaker by choice.  Perhaps it is because of sufficient knowledge of history that I recognize that when establishment is allowed the possibility of discrimination against non-established religions and their adherents is often not far behind.  Perhaps it is because there is a strand in our society that has chosen to ignore clear rulings from the Supreme Court about the limits of religion in public life and government.  Perhaps it is because I fear we are about to prove that the stupidest man to sit on the Supreme Court since Potter Stewart (who could not define pornography but insisted he knew what it was when he saw it)left the Bench, Clarence Thomas, has been correct in the eyes of the Court when he has argued that the Establishment clause has NOT been incorporated against the states.  Perhaps it is because I lived through the NY State Regents prayer period, a period ended in Engel v. Vitale in 1962, when the Courts' opinion noted that it could imagine anything more violative of the establishment clause than a government body writing a prayer.

Unleash the prosecutorial power of the government without the protections against abuse and you erase Amendments 4-5-6 and 8.

Refuse to hold accountable wrongdoers who publicly admit violating the standards of US and international law and the idea of checks and balances begins to disappear, and the we move towards an incipient dictatorship.

Erase the clear separation of government and religion and inevitably some religions will be restricted in a way that would have horrified our Founders, who knew all too well the dangers of allowing religion to interfere with the government or government to interfere with religion.

Define a corporation as having equal personhood under the constitution to the point where it can use its financial power to manipulate our political processes and where politics are tilted towards wealth in some cases with no transpareny and we cease to have a democracy where the voices and votes of individuals retain any meaning in shaping the government that is supposed to belong to We the People.

Why then am I still teaching?  What the hell am I teaching?  Do we now have 2.5 branches of government that no longer believe in the principles upon which I thought this nation was founded?  

It is the 3rd day of 2nd quarter.  All my students are to be assessed on what we have been learning on Monday.  At least part of every period today will be a review of our recent studies.  As I write this, a part of me thinks I should go in and tell them I can't fairly assess them because what we have been learning apparently is wrong, that I have erred in teaching them of the importance of a right to trial by jury and access to habeas, that this is a government of laws and not of men, that no man is above the law, that separation of church and state was hugely important to our Founders, that by the time of the Civil War we no longer had any state established church, that the history of the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court and of the amendments to our Constitution have been in the direction of increasing individual liberty and restricting the power of governments, state and local, to interfere with our basic rights.

If I have erred in what I have been teaching them, I also wonder what the hell is the point of my working on behalf of candidates for one party when the leadership of that party, of the administration for which so many of us labored to place into power seems willing to abandon core principles in the apparent name of protecting executive power.  

I am 64.  I remember the struggles of African-Americans to obtain a semblance of equality even 100 years after the official ending of slavery.  I lived through the McCarthy red scares.  I have seen racial and religious hatred and xenophobia, and thought we had moved to a point where leadership on both sides of our political divide had agreed that such should NOT be a part of our acceptable political discourse, only to see such hatred and xenophobia and intolerance not only acceptable but supported in order to gain more political power.  When the next Speaker of the House is willing to publicly appear with someone who apparently proudly dresses up as an SS officer - even though that person is almost certainly would not win his election -  what else can that be except a dog whistle to those forces of intolerance and hatred?  When political leaders refuse to condemn the ravings of Glenn Beck, appear on his show or at his events, how is that not acquiescing in allowing the rising up again of rule by mob?  How is that not being willing to destroy what progress we have made for the purpose of obtaining political power at any cost?  How is unleashing corporations as has been done administratively and legislatively by both parties in their seeking of campaign funds and support not a step in the direction of a system where corporate profits trump all other values, itself an indication of an incipient fascism?

What then am I teaching?  Why do I bother?

Because so far no one has tried to stop me, and I hope against hope that I might make a difference.  

Because to give up now is to acquiesce in evil -  that's right, EVIL.  

Because not to teach would be to abandon everything that has mattered in my life.

Perhaps mine is ultimately a futile task.  Perhaps the last remaining gesture might seem too much like that of the Jews who held out against the Romans at Masada.

I know this.  If I stop teaching, if I stop challenging, then I am not sure I have a justification for continuing to live.

I will share both my doubts and my determination with my students.  Today I will review for their assessments on Monday.

Today I will continue to teach them what our governing documents have meant during my lifetime.

This is not the first time our values and our liberties have been under attack, in jeopardy.  Unless we give up and allow them disappear, it will not be the last.

I may be spitting into the wind.

I may be as foolish as this man:

I am surely not as courageous.

But I will continue to do what I can do, as long as I have voice, as long as I have breath.

What about you?

Originally posted to teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos.

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    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:37:33 AM PDT

    •  And now I head to school (106+ / 0-)

      to prepare for another day, where I will continue to do what I have been doing, even as my worries that it will all be for naught increase.

      I do not know what else I can do and still keep my sanity, what little I have left.

      I do not know how I justify continuing to live if I do not continue to strive for what I believe to be right.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:51:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope you're reading the Constitution (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radarlady, woodtick, Broadview

        before you teach it to your students.

        Define a corporation as having equal personhood under the constitution to the point where it can use its financial power to manipulate our political processes and where politics are tilted towards wealth in some cases with no transpareny and we cease to have a democracy where the voices and votes of individuals retain any meaning in shaping the government that is supposed to belong to We the People.

        I quote from the First Amendment:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

        Note that the people is only relevant to the second half of the Amendment.

        The first half - the part granting freedom of speech - contains a straight forward prohibition of Congress passing ANY law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.

        There is no mention of speech by people vs. corporations and this distinction is therefore irrelevant to the Citizens' United decision.

        Let me add that given that freedom of the press is right there with freedom of speech, if the Court had ruled that freedom of speech was not granted to corporations then presumably the same would have been true of freedom of the press - it's very had to see how you could claim that those two, right next to each other, should be treated differently.

        If freedom of the press does not apply to corporations then censorship of, say, the NYT would be totally Constitutional.

        I think we can all be glad that the Court did not come to that conclusion.

          •  Freedom of the 'Press' similarly disadvantages (14+ / 0-)

            those without a Press.

            Equating money with free speech obviously disempowers those without money.

            Thus the magic of the internet wherein we all now have access to a press.

            I'd suggest that money is more equated to a bullhorn than speech.  It amplifies what is being said rather than saying anything specific in itself.  Therefore, it stands to reason that I should be able to stand in a Senate committee meeting and shout at the Committee Chair with a bullhorn and be fully protected under my 1st Amendment rights post Citizens United.

            Margaret Flowers (the doctor, single-payer advocate ) should head back to Max Baucus' committee-room with a very loud bullhorn and her civil-rights lawyer.

            GOP found drowned in Grover Norquist's bathtub.

            by JimWilson on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:10:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Seems lacking in logic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Broadview
            1. I'm not aware of any particular obligations of citizenship - perhaps not committing treason?
            1. Corporations do have many of the obligations of US residents or visitors including paying taxes and not committing crimes.  What obligations are you thinking of that only apply to people?  Registering for selective service?
            1. Given that in the days of the founders newspapers were often companies I see no reason why they would not.  They certainly expected freedom of the press to apply to corporate newspapers so why not freedom of speech?  (BTW, I know modern corporations with limited liability are relatively new, but that's not the issue here, right?)
            1. You have not explained how any reasonable interpretation of the First Amendment that does not extend free speech rights to corporations would still extent freedom of the press to corporations.
            •  Israelly...Your arguments seem... (35+ / 0-)

              ...like a deliberate attempt to hijack this diary.

              You have already jumped the tip jar (well, Ken's second comment anyway) and now you are off and running with demands for a detailed disection of Citizen United.

              My question to you is, ¨what are your thoughts on Ken's first paragraph?¨

              The former President of the United States openly admitted to violating US Law and international law when he acknowledged ordering water-boarding, an action for which in previous times we have court-martialed our own troops, to which we objected when it was done to our military, and which is clearly banned by both US law and the International Convention on Torture, which as a ratified treaty is according to Article VI "the supreme law of the land."  

              Yet the current administration refuses to even investigate the wrongdoings of the administration before it, thereby in the case of Mr. Bush perhaps demonstrating that Richard Nixon's assertion to David Frost that if the president does it, it is not against the law is now true.

            •  You are aware of HOW and WHEN (8+ / 0-)

              personhood was established for corporations aren't you?

              If not, please look it up.

              Then continue on this vein of logic if you can.

              (hint: it was a either a "mistake" or a "deliberate" interjection by someone with a conflict of interest and was in fact not part of any judgment by the court)

              •  I've heard this claim... seems laughable (0+ / 0-)

                How exactly did this "someone"'s interjection get cited in a brief the next time the issue came up in court?

                If it wasn't part of a majority opinion then how did it become precedent?

                •  It's not a claim. It's called history. (0+ / 0-)

                  Look it up. The case is Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad and it has to do with the recorder J.C. Bancroft Davis, a former president of Newburgh and New York Railway Co. and his insertion of his summation of the case, which says:

                  "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does."[5]

                  But this was not in fact part of the judgment in the case and to this day cannot be found anywhere within it. In fact, the justice of the court clarified that the court never even considered the Constitutional question under the 14th amendment and therefore, the question of personhood was moot.

                  But you see, Mr Davis and his railroad boys had tried for years to enshrine corporate personhood with little effect up to this point. As the court recorder, this former railroad executive changed forever the lives of Americans and we are feeling the effects of his interjection with full force with Citizens United.

                  During the arguments in Citizens United Justice Sotomayor questioned the whole notion of corporate personhood. Of course she was met with disdain from the conservative corps on the court, but it was a notable argument, one that the court NEEDS to have again in the future.

                  •  Always interesting to check the history (0+ / 0-)

                    From the ever useful Wikipedia:

                    Before publication in United States Reports, Davis wrote a letter to Chief Justice Morrison Waite, dated May 26, 1886, to make sure his headnote was correct:

                    Dear Chief Justice, I have a memorandum in the California Cases Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific &c As follows. In opening the Court stated that it did not wish to hear argument on the question whether the Fourteenth Amendment applies to such corporations as are parties in these suits. All the Judges were of the opinion that it does.[7]

                    Waite replied:

                    I think your mem. in the California Railroad Tax cases expresses with sufficient accuracy what was said before the argument began. I leave it with you to determine whether anything need be said about it in the report inasmuch as we avoided meeting the constitutional question in the decision.[7]

                    However, let's remember that to actually cite something in a legal brief you need to cite the actual page of the actual opinion.  I therefore continue to question whether this had the impact that some people claim.

              •  Let me add that this goes back to quite ancient (0+ / 0-)

                history.

                For example, when syndicates outfitted privateers in the 1500s and 1600s and issued POs for supplies or made other contracts the captains and other officers were authorized to sign on behalf of the syndicate as a whole.  There was no requirement that every contract be signed by every member of the syndicate.

                •  Representation through proxy. (0+ / 0-)

                  What does that have to do with corporate personhood?

                  •  Representing who through proxy? (0+ / 0-)

                    Each individual member of the syndicate?  So he could also sign on behalf of them in their other business affairs?  Of course not.

                    The point is that partnerships, companies, syndicates, etc. have operated as independent legal entities with rights to sign contracts, go to court, and engage in business for many centuries.

                    •  Which is a far cry from establishing (0+ / 0-)

                      "personhood".

                      And then once we get into the problematic nature of "personhood" and Constitutional rights...well then we start asking about voting (does a Corporation get a vote now?) or when a corporation murders someone, how come that corporation doesn't go to jail (like a "person" would?), do corporations now get Medicare and Social Security when they reach age?

                      Can a corporation be drafted into military service and go and fight and die in a war to protect America?

                      Does a corporation have the right to "bear arms"?

                      What exactly is the appropriate age for a corporation to apply for its driver's license?

                      Does a corporation have a right to abortion?

                      Perhaps corporations will now be required to purchase health insurance for themselves starting in 2014?

                      When is it corporations will start registering for the draft?

                      If a corporation is waterboarded, do they have recourse under the Geneva Convention?

                      Oh right. I forgot. A corporation, unlike an actual person, will never be waterboarded.

                      So although corporations now enjoy benefits of "personhood" (such as a so-called Free Speech right via money and a skirting of campaign finance laws) they don't share the same responsibilities of actual, living, breathing, persons.

                      Being able to enter into contracts as an "entity" is quite different than being granted "personhood."

                      This should be dreadfully clear.

                      •  What do you mean by personhood? (0+ / 0-)

                        A corporation is judicially a person.

                        It can sue, be sued, enter into contracts, etc. and be treated like a single unitary entity, unlike an independent association of people who must each sign every contract and then be sued individually if there is a problem.

                        That's pershonhood.  This is separate from the issue of what rights a corporation has.

                        Now, if you don't extend certain Constitutional rights to corporate persons you get ridiculous results.

                        No freedom of speech for corporations?  Welcome to the government controlled NYT.

                        No Fifth Amendment?  So the government can just seize the assets of any corporation at will, thereby destroying the value of the shares owned by the shareholders?

                        The courts in general have ruled that laws and Constitutional clauses apply to corporations and people equally unless they are clearly intended to only apply to people.  So corporations also have privacy rights, but the right to an abortion does not apply.

                        If you don't support this basic rule then precisely how do you think it should work?  

                        No rights for corporations at all?  So a Republican president gets annoyed at George Soros and confiscates all of his companies' assets and it should be Constitutional?

            •  you're presuming that "money = speech" is (8+ / 0-)

              a valid premise.

              It is certainly not an uncontested one.

              I've long wondered if money = speech why there are laws against bribery? Remember when the horribly corrupt Congressman in Louisiana was found with bundles of thousands of dollars hidden in his freezer? Under this interpretation of reality (money = speech), couldn't someone like him claim that the money was simply the thoughts that some constituents shared with him?

              To me, the notion that "money is speech" is an even more absurd and dangerously loose reading than "corporate personhood."

              "There is no reason a Democrat has to be a weakling." - Alan Grayson

              by cassandraX on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:05:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree. This whole citizen's united ruling is a (0+ / 0-)

                bait-and-switch.  It struck down laws governing the contribution of cash, but redirected the argument to the nuances of free speech.  Money is not speech.  My wallet is not talking to me right now.  And the $1.00 I spent earlier on a candy bar didn't speak either.  If action = speech, then it seems like all actions can sooner or later be equated to speech.  Why isn't murder protected speech?  Is murder banned in the constitution?  Interestingly enough, isn't sex then speech?  What about peeing in public?  I can think of alot of actions that "speak" as loudly or more than giving money.

              •  Does Money = Speech? (0+ / 0-)

                Consider the Pentagon Papers case.

                If money did not equal speech could the government have gotten an injunction preventing the NYT from spending any money publishing or in any way disseminating the information in the Pentagon Papers?

                Clearly, if Money <> Speech you've eliminated the freedom of the press except for self published items... and even there - can you put your info up on a web site without someone paying for bandwidth and hosting?

                Many people do take the extreme position you are taking and object to all restrictions on campaign spending and contributions.  Out and out bribery is considered different because in that case you are paying for a vote or a government action, not speech in favor or against a candidate.

            •  How about voting? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              farbuska

              Last I looked, corporations couldn't vote, though given this Court it may yet come to that.

              "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

              by RenMin on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 12:52:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Press exception(al) (0+ / 0-)

              If all corporations have the right of free speech, than press freedom need not be guaranteed explicitly -- it is encompassed by the right of free speech. The press is given special mention because it is a special case.

              I have never read anything by the Founders or Framers which suggests that they had any conception of the corporation-as-entity (which scarcely existed in the modern form in the 18th-century) as having any rights at all -- as opposed to legally-granted privileges.

              As to your point 3, although newspapers may sometimes have been companies, they were rarely (ever?) LLCs -- and when the British government went after the press, it went after individuals, not the company as an entity (e.g. in the Wilkes affair). This was surely the example the Founders and Framers were thinking of.

              •  But that mention is in the same clause (0+ / 0-)

                If all corporations have the right of free speech, than press freedom need not be guaranteed explicitly -- it is encompassed by the right of free speech. The press is given special mention because it is a special case.

                Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

                How can you argue that freedom of the press in this clause applies to corporations but freedom of speech does not?  They're right there next to each other and separate from the rights that the First Amendment grants to the people.

          •  Corporations are more human than human (17+ / 0-)

            If corporations are people and these "people" have broken our laws repeatedly,
            how come no corporation has ever been sent to jail?
            Why do corporations continue to enjoy freedom when they steal from us and kill us whereas a real person is locked up or executed for far less?
            Must we mere mortals incorporate ourselves for equal protection under the law? Because corporations get away with a whole lot more criminal transgressions than any human would be allowed to get away with!

            Keep Christian mythology out of science class!

            by cybersaur on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:55:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Corporations are nothing more (0+ / 0-)

              than a collection of legal documents and contracts.

              That is it, that is what they are.

              They have no more right to personhood than do the trees in my yard.

              We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

              by twigg on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:24:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  issue is not freedom of speech per se (39+ / 0-)

          given that this Court overturned more than half a decade of jurisprudence on the subject of corporate expenditures in elections

          it is even independent of the nature of corporate personhood

          and since you seem to want to be critical, I teach SCOTUS decisions as they are decided.  Whether I agree or not, I also point students at the dissents.  Thus in looking at Plessy I point at the dissent of the first Justice Harlan, and then remind students that the logic of Plessy was rejected over a number of cases, and while not officially overturned in Brown the Court made clear its intent on that matter.

          I point out that Courts have reversed as quickly as 3 years in the past -   Gobitis in 1940 being reversed in Barnette in 1943.

          I teach that a majority opinion of SCOTUS is supposed to be binding reasoning until (a) the Constitution is amended, (b) a law is written to address the issues of constitutionality raised by the Court, (c) a subsequent Court reverses.

          Since the Court, by reversing precedents, has acknowledge that a Court can be wrong, I see no problem with criticizing a decision even as I acknowledge that for the present it is the interpretation that is binding.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:48:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Corporations as we know them (40+ / 0-)

          did not even exist when the Bill of Rights was written.  

          During the period of colonial expansion in the 17th century, the true progenitors of the modern Corporation emerged as the "chartered company".

          In the United States, government chartering began to fall out of vogue in the mid-19th century. Corporate law at the time was focused on protection of the public interest, and not on the interests of corporate shareholders. Corporate charters were closely regulated by the states. Forming a corporation usually required an act of legislature. Investors generally had to be given an equal say in corporate governance, and corporations were required to comply with the purposes expressed in their charters.

          Suggesting that the First Amendment was ever intended to include the rights of modern Corporations is ludicrous, and the notions that Corporations are entitled to thewhen the Bill of Rights was written rights of personhood even more so.

          "If you do not read the paper, you are uninformed. If you do read the paper, you are misinformed."--Mark Twain.

          by ovals49 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:54:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was a clerk, I believe, who (21+ / 0-)

            offered as his interpretation of the 1886(?) SCOTUS decision regarding corporate monopolies, that corporations were granted personhood status -- it was never a definitive ruling handed down by the justices -- but it was reported and disseminated as such by businesses and has become accepted fact in our history.

            The Roberts court has expanded that now to an obscenity that will eventually destroy our democracy, imo . . . which is the whole idea.

            •  I know I have a simple mind and (8+ / 0-)

              I know precious little about law and probably not enough about constitutional law, but if the SC granted personhood status to corporations, why can't those corporations be tried and convicted of murder  if someone in their employ is killed on the job and it's deemed to be due to negligence on the part of the corporation, such as poor working conditions or a dangerous working environment in which the employee was expected to do their work?

              As en example;  a mining company where a collapse kills miners and there are safety violations that are clearly documented.  If the company has personhood, do they not have personal responsibility for an unnecessary death?  Couldn't the representatives of this company, be tried for murder?

              •  That's a very good question, (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mattman, 3goldens, churchlady

                and, unfortunately, one I don't the answer to.

                Maybe someone who has knowledge/legal expertise can enlighten both of us on the culpability/liability of corporations in the cases you bring up.

                I think there was an instance during the Great Depression when some businessmen were sent to jail b/c their businesses went bankrupt and the shareholders sued them, but the laws have since been changed to prevent that (big surprise).

              •  I'd like to see the families of those miners... (5+ / 0-)

                test that legal theory.  I really would.  It would be verrrry interesting to watch the legal arguments on both sides (although I'd be particularly interested to read the Plf's arguments), and if the case made it to the SCOTUS, how it would THEN interpret corporatehood... if the case made it to the SCOTUS, I'll bet they'd reject just to avoid dealing with the issue(s) that the SCOTUS itself raised in Citizens United.

                Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds. - Albert Einstein

                by legalchic on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:15:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I wrote a shortish diary on it - one page and (0+ / 0-)

              easy to read format.

              Santa Clara vs Southern Pacific Railroad. The full story.

              The clerk of the SCOTUS in that case was a former Railroad Board member. He did insert language into the written record - but not the legally binding portion of the record.

              Read the diary for the particulars.

              "in Order to form a more perfect Union"
              Basta de Guerra. No más. Enough War. No more.

              by Angie in WA State on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 12:26:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I see your point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Broadview

            Of course, since the Bill of Rights should only apply to the things that existed at the time it was written then obviously the First Amendment should not apply to the Internet.  What we write here is not speech and obviously there is no press involved, right?

            However, even given this interpretation, I don't see how you justify giving Congress the right to abridge corporate speech since the prohibition in the First Amendment is quite absolute - it just says Congress can't pass any laws abridging freedom of speech.  It is that simple.  That seems to cover any unforeseen situations in the future quite clearly.

            •  libel laws abridge free speech? FIRE!!!! (5+ / 0-)

              infringements are there, corporate "speech" should be one. When investment in corporations is not restricted to U.S. citizens, political speech and financial contributions should be banned. IMSO.

              "Tiger got to hunt, Bird got to fly. Man got to sit and wonder, why? why? why?"

              by tRueffert on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:37:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Or we should allow natural persons (7+ / 0-)

                of foreign citizenship to participate in our elections...that might actually improve matters on some level, especially if we could let them vote for president.

                "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:44:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  So you believe that non-US citizens (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CuriousBoston

                should not have freedom of speech to speak on political matters in the US?

                When investment in corporations is not restricted to U.S. citizens, political speech and financial contributions should be banned.

                It has been settled law for at least decades, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was centuries that non-US citizens have freedom of speech in the US, including on political matters.

                BTW, does this also apply then to the NYT?  One of their biggest investors is Carlos Slim, a Mexican mogul.  I am also quite sure that some of their reporters are foreigners.

                •  They do .. the 14th Amendment (0+ / 0-)

                  The difference with Corporations is that they neither hold allegiance to the United States, nor are they held to the same criminal standard as regular people.

                  They get all the benefits, and more, yet appear to be beholden to no one other than their shareholders, many of whom are in distant lands.

                  It is completely unsupportable.

                  We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

                  by twigg on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:34:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't see the relevance of the 14th (0+ / 0-)

                    I assume you are talking about Section 1.  What is the relevance?

                    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

                    The difference with Corporations is that they neither hold allegiance to the United States, nor are they held to the same criminal standard as regular people.

                    Foreigners don't hold allegiance to the US but corporations are held to the same criminal standard as regular people.  If you think not, please provide evidence.

                    They get all the benefits, and more, yet appear to be beholden to no one other than their shareholders, many of whom are in distant lands.

                    There are many benefits that corporations don't get.  For example, no unemployment insurance or free medical care.  Corporations have legal obligations to creditors, business partners, employees, and the government as well as their shareholders.

                    Many foreigners in the US are also beholden to no one in the US.

            •  Corporations are ficititious persons (12+ / 0-)

              I see no problem with granting freedom of speech only to actual, real persons...there should be no shortage of those in any corporation, even those owned by a single real person. What is the problem with restricting speech for corporations owned by corporations owned by corporations...i.e., shells designed for no other reason but to hide the identity of real owners? Is false advertising a constitutional right now, too?

              "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

              by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:42:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Lying certainly is. As Fox has determined. /nt (8+ / 0-)

                Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
                I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
                -Spike Milligan

                by polecat on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:54:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And... (4+ / 0-)

                Corporations are creatures of the state - no government, no corporations.  Citizens are citizens regardless of government.

                "Nothing great was ever achieved with out enthusiasm." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

                by RichM on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:21:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Well, the Constitution doesn't actually grant (0+ / 0-)

                freedom of speech to anyone.

                I see no problem with granting freedom of speech only to actual, real persons...

                What the Constitution does is it says that Congress can pass no law that abridges freedom of speech.

                That sounds similar, but it sure is not identical.

                Since the rule is no abridgements of freedom of speech, not just a grant of freedom of speech to people, the distinction you are trying to make won't wash.

                What is the problem with restricting speech for corporations owned by corporations owned by corporations...i.e., shells designed for no other reason but to hide the identity of real owners?

                And how do you define that?  For example, I'll bet that Carlos Slim doesn't directly own the NYT shares he owns.  They are almost certainly held by another company he controls.  The Sulzbergers also own their shares through a trust designed to prevent them from selling off control.  So no freedom of speech for the NYT?

                •  I think you're arguming semantics... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  3goldens

                  it grants the right by not being able to restrict the right.  Because it doesn't say "I grant thee..." doesn't mean it doesn't. I think you're argument relies on semantics.

                  Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds. - Albert Einstein

                  by legalchic on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:19:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  arguing, not arguming. n/t (0+ / 0-)

                    Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds. - Albert Einstein

                    by legalchic on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:19:35 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, but when you grant something (0+ / 0-)

                    you have to grant to someone.

                    The first half of the First Amendment (unlike the second half) very specifically avoids identifying anyone who is granted these rights.  Instead, it is a blanket prohibition on Congress in any way abridging freedom of speech.  Period.

                    It's almost as if they wanted to make 100% sure that no one later played semantic games saying "Oh, but the First Amendment doesn't apply to YOU."

                •  You are forgetting the 10th (0+ / 0-)

                  It ratifies the 1st.

                  We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

                  by twigg on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:35:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I meant the 9th Amendment (0+ / 0-)

                    We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

                    by twigg on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:38:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You'll have to explain more explicitly (0+ / 0-)

                      how it applies to this argument.

                      At this point, I'm not even sure if you are coming down on my side or the other side.

                      •  It's not that hard (0+ / 0-)

                        The Bill of Rights doesn't confer any rights on the people ... none.

                        The Constitution is a plan for government, not for people directly.

                        The 1st Amendment prevents the government from, amongst other things, abridging free speech and, as you said, does not confer the Right to free speech directly to the people.

                        The 9th, on the other hand, addresses the people directly by explaining that the people have rights not expressly granted, but they are Rights that carry the full weight of Constitutional limits on the government.

                        When you take the two together it is almost impossible to craft any law that restricts speech ... the main issue surrounds defining just what constitutes speech.

                        We do not forgive our candidates their humanity, therefore we compel them to appear inhuman

                        by twigg on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:25:47 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Not "Of course" (5+ / 0-)

              Of course, since the Bill of Rights should only apply to the things that existed at the time it was written then obviously the First Amendment should not apply to the Internet.

              The Bill of Rights applies to persons, not "things".  It's really pretty simple, unless you work real hard to misconstrue it.

              "If you do not read the paper, you are uninformed. If you do read the paper, you are misinformed."--Mark Twain.

              by ovals49 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:09:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Bill of Rights limits government action (6+ / 0-)

                It doesn't merely say, "Here are the People's rights," it also says, "Here are the things the Federal Government is not allowed to do," (and later, with the 14th Amendment, those restrictions were applied to states and localities, as well).

                IANAL, but here's my understanding of the argument of the majority opinion in Citizens United:  the First Amendment forbids government action which abridges speech.  It doesn't say that the government can abridge some speech and not other speech, or that speech paid for in some ways can be abridged but speech paid for in other ways can't.  It just says that the government can't abridge speech.

                You could argue that "speech" is an intrinsically human activity, so only humans (not corporations) can speak, and thus this part of the First Amendment applies only to humans.  But if you want to get technical, you could say that any hit piece paid for by a corporation during a campaign is spoken or written by an actual human being (though that human being is paid by a corporation to do it), and thus it's that human being's speech that is abridged when the government forbids distribution of their speech because it's been paid for by a corporation.

                In any case, "Congress shall make no law..." does not apply to persons.  It applies to Congress.  The Bill of Rights often doesn't grant rights; it lists positive restrictions on Congressional action.

                "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

                by Pesto on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:27:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Perhaps you should read the First Amendment (0+ / 0-)

                The second half clearly applies to people.

                The first half is just a prohibition on Congress passing certain types of laws.  It seems to apply across the board with no regard to who is affected.

            •  Corporations... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mattman, opinionated, vacantlook

              Are entities created by the state.  Citizens are not.  Citizens are outside of the control of the state because they are citizens by birth right.  Therefore, it should totally be in the privilege of the legislative body over what 'rights' corporations have.  You are totally mis-interpreting the first amendment.  The freedom of press was to protect the INDIVIDUAL who published a piece of work.  Not the actual corporation who cranked it out.

              "Nothing great was ever achieved with out enthusiasm." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

              by RichM on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:20:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Perhaps then you should try to amend the (0+ / 0-)

                Constitution.

                Therefore, it should totally be in the privilege of the legislative body over what 'rights' corporations have.  

                Perhaps, but the First Amendment clearly states that Congress cannot pass laws that abridge free speech.  Period.  Whether we should change the First Amendment to allow this when it only affects corporations is a political question, not a legal one.

                You are totally mis-interpreting the first amendment.  The freedom of press was to protect the INDIVIDUAL who published a piece of work.  Not the actual corporation who cranked it out.

                Then how do you explain Supreme Court decisions like NYT vs. Sullivan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co.v.Sullivan) which protected the NYT Corporation (that's what the "Co" in the name of the decision stands for)?

          •  The first multinational corporation reportedly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Angie in WA State

            … had already made its debut in 1602, in the form of the VOC or Dutch East India Company.

            . . . the States-General [= parliament or legislature] of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia. It was the first multinational corporation in the world and the first company to issue stock. It was also arguably the world's first megacorporation, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies.

            But as you point out, such government-chartered companies had little in common with their modern counterparts.

            The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

            by lotlizard on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:26:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You can print a newspapaer without being (5+ / 0-)

          incorporated...and I'm pretty sure none of them were at the time the Constitution was ratified. Corporations are for the purpose of attracting investment which an enterprise can then use to expand its activities and become more profitable...the only reason they needed "personhood" was to open bank accounts and borrow money, not to have and express opinions...that should be left for "natural persons," which every proper corporation must be controlled by.

          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

          by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:19:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Corporations, as such, (7+ / 0-)

          didn't exist then any more than airplanes or Gatling guns.

          "Corporations" such as they were in England were created by royal charter. There was no concept of "limited liability." There was no concept of "speech" by a commercial enterprise.

          Newspapers were extremely partisan and typically run by an owner or two. An "objective" news source was an alien concept at the time. It was only about 100 years ago that the idea of "objective journalism" began to take hold, in large part due to of all people, Joe Pulitzer.

          So you can't critique what was written then based on what occurred 100 and 200 years later.

        •  I see your point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Israellyyours

          Of course, since the Bill of Rights should make no distinction  when there is no mention of a difference, then anyone who can produce speech should not have that speech abrogated by the government.  Then, obviously the First Amendment should apply to all people and corporations, no matter where they reside, have citizenship, or are based.  Indeed, foreign goverments should also have rights to speech under the First Amendment and thus be allowed to directly contribute to our political campaigns.

          I don't see how you justify giving Congress the right to abridge foreign corporate speech since the prohibition in the First Amendment is quite absolute - it just says Congress can't pass any laws abridging freedom of speech.  It is that simple.  That seems to cover any unforeseen situations in the future quite clearly.

          •  People are beginning to make this argument (0+ / 0-)

            And it is almost certain that there will soon be case on this reaching the Supreme Court.

          •  Moreover, (0+ / 0-)

            there is no restriction in the First Amendment that speech must be oral, or written, or use any particular medium; indeed, as the distinction is not made, any investment in speech should not be abrogated by the government.  This includes the freedom to say, for instance, that I like green clothing.  However, when the government taxes me, it necessarily reduces my ability to say that I like green clothing.  Thus, the First Amendment also makes quite clear the claim that taxation is unconstitutional.

            Additionally, there is no distinction made in the First Amendment about the source of funds for investing in free speech, and thus as long as I use funds I acquire for investing in free speech (and we have already established that in order to interpret the First Amendment as broadly as it was intended, that any spending is speech), then the government should not be able to intervene and remove from my person any funds I acquire in order to invest in free speech, regardless of whether I acquire them legally or not.  Thus, the First Amendment makes it quite clear that theft should be legal, or at least the monies acquired from theft need not be returned, in order to defend free speech.

            •  Good points... try them with the court... (0+ / 0-)

              In actual fact, the Supreme Court has upheld time, place, and manner restrictions and would presumably follow similar reasoning to reject your theories.

              They have however come down quite hard on anything that gives privileged speech status to some speakers over others or some viewpoints over others.

              •  I thought (0+ / 0-)

                we were arguing for our principles.  If it comes down to simply testing and defending the current view of the courts, then all this rhetoric on both our parts just becomes a defense of relativism.  Is that how you intend your arguments?  Would you reverse your position were Citizen United overturned?

                •  The court has interpreted the First Amendment (0+ / 0-)

                  to focus on ensuring the speech in general is mostly allowed and that restrictions are not implemented based on content or speaker.

                  Given the practical issues in enforcing total lack of constraint (some of which you pointed out) this seems a good way to follow the spirit of the Amendment.

        •  Corporations can't "speak" (4+ / 0-)

          People at corporations can speak.  People at corporations can issue press releases.  People at corporations can send money to political causes.

          Corporations can't do any of those things, because corporations are not alive.  Do you see the issue here?

        •  You're assuming away the issue (0+ / 0-)

          By assuming that a law regulating corporate expenditures for political advertising is a "law abridging the freedom of speech."

          Only if a corporation is a "person" could it enjoy "freedom of speech."  (And only if expenditures equal speech could regulation thereof abridge freedom of speech, for that matter.)

          Without Citizens United all of the corporation's human shareholders, officers, and employees continue to have exactly the same rights they have with Citizens United.  Only the corporation itself's "freedom" to speech is abridged.  And its freedom of speech can be abridged only if the corporation has that freedom, i.e. right, in the first place.

          In fact, the inclusion of the freedom of the press clause could be read to support this ruling, as the founders were making an exception for one particular type of communicative activity not necessarily carried out by natural persons.

          "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

          by RenMin on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 12:50:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Serious typo in my comment (0+ / 0-)

            In fact, the inclusion of the freedom of the press clause could be read to support this ruling, as the founders were making an exception for one particular type of communicative activity not necessarily carried out by natural persons.

            Not to support "this ruling" (Citizens United); to support this argument against Citizens United.

            "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

            by RenMin on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 01:11:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps you should include the text (0+ / 0-)

              of that clause of the First Amendment in your comment.

              I think if you did that it would be pretty clear that your argument is incorrect.

              •  No, I don't think so (0+ / 0-)

                You are reading the clause in one way -- a plausible way, to be sure -- failing to realize, or at least acknowledge, that it can just as plausibly be read the other way.  And it was read the other way, for over 100 years, until the radical judicial activists on the Court reversed long-standing precedent.

                "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

                by RenMin on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 02:43:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  You are lucky. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard

        You only have, what? a year and a few months until you get SS and Medicare?  And maybe you get three times (paid for by the taxpayers) what you contribute to retirement, which I believe is what they get here in WA state.  And dental insurance.  And summers off, Christmas off, spring break, and every single federal holiday, and two weeks at Christmas, spring, sick days, some personal days. And almost zero chance to be fired.  And no accountability, like in the private sector.

        In WA state, they made the smokers of cigarettes (me) pay the vast majority of the new taxes to keep the state workers living the life to which they have become used to.

        Okay, I am a horrible person.  I smoke cigarettes.  Mr. Obama, read my lips, no taxes on the poor he said, first thing he did, 60 cents per pack raise.  Then our glorious WA state gov added $1.00 a pack raise. That was a $16.00 raise just in tax alone in less than a year. And the manufacturers added some bucks just for good measure. And the feds, beholding to the tobacco companies, raised the tax on loose tobacco to roll your own by over $25.00.  That is a raise of $25.00 dollars alone just to satisfy the cigarette companies. Now I know most people despise smokers.  But is it really fair to make a small segment of the population, (lower income) pay for most of it?  Some of us poor people (especially we older ones) don''t have a god damn thing left.  We smoke.  We don't have any health care.  I don't even have a running car.  

        Well, I went on too long.  But I am sorry.  I see what the deal is with the teachers in my state, and my sister, the teacher, makes me want to puke with her complaining.  As I have told her for the last 30 years or more, if you hate it so fucking much, then why don't you get another job.  Ha.  My sister isn't capable of working at a 7-11.  And she would faint if she couldn't have all her sick days and benefits and summers off for working approximately half a year.  I've always invited her to come and work in the real world, but of course, that just get poo pooed.  

        So yes, education is in desperate need.  I could not agree more.  But from where I sit, it's the teachers who basically passed a few written tests 40 years ago who are guaranteed a job no matter what who need to chip in to this mess.

        •  When you told her this... (6+ / 0-)
          I have told her for the last 30 years or more, if you hate it so fucking much, then why don't you get another job.

          ...did your sister ever ask you why (if teaching is so cushy and easy) you never became a teacher?

          •  That's a very good question, Jim. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk

            First of all, I never said teaching was cushy or easy.  My ex-sister-in-law, aunt, and ex-brother-in-law are the epitome of good teachers.  My sister is not included in that group.  What disturbs me is her incessant complaining. She is so inept that she is completely computer illiterate and gets away with it because of tenure.  And many more things.

            But to answer your question:  My parents had my brother and sister when they were young.  They were treated like royalty.  This was back in the late 40s and mid 50s.  By the time I came along many years later, the parents lost interest and had their own problems.  Crap, I cannot possibly explain this in a post.  But suffice it to say, my older brother and sister (the teacher) were given parental favor and sent to college.  Me, and my younger sister who arrived many years later during a time of family turbulence were not given such favors, and basically brought ourselves up.  

            I curse myself to this day, 55 years later, that I was not somehow able to glean the future, overcome my problems, and set myself up better. But I couldn't and I didn't. Yes, no one to blame but myself.  Hind sight is 20/20, as they say.  

            Don't think I'm a winger against unions, govt workers, education, etc. My sister (the teacher) probably has a low to moderate IQ.  She shocks me constantly with her lack of, well, just about anything.  And from what she tells me, her fellow, tenured teachers are pretty much like her.  My sister constantly asks me to spell something, what is the meaning of what I consider a common word, etc.  I just don't think because you passed a written test on the 5 stages of grief 45 years ago that you should (a) be considered a teacher) and (b) make the poor people in your state who have nothing pay for your time off and benefits.

            Okay, teachers, flame me now.  But the good ones won't.  The ones (like my sister) will flame the shit out me.  Oh, my sister told her tiny children that if there was ever an emergency, like earthquake, they are on their own because she would be out of there.  The stories I could tell about her would curl your hair.  But what's the use?  

            •  your issues with your sister (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              dww44

              have no place in a political conversation.

              and smoking is dangerous for the people around you.

              yes, it is probably the worst addiction out there, but stop defending your damaging addiction while all the while attacking your sister for what she is not.

              that's personal and deeply psychological and has nothing to do with the major issues regarding education in this country.

              you are mad your addiction is taxed?  ridiculous.

              Gaia is heartbroken.

              by BlueDragon on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 09:05:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not mad that my addiction is taxed. (0+ / 0-)

                Mad that it is taxed way too much.
                Mad that other vices are not taxed.
                Mad that you accept the exhaust from your SUV and think that is perfectly okay.  
                Mad that the wealthiest 1 percent of banksters, hedge funds, etc. are not taxed as they should be.
                Mad that some people live and prosper due to government choices and others suffer and die due to government choices.

                Forget my personal need for a shrink's opinion.  It is not fair for some people with nothing to pay for other people who have their basic needs covered.  This is a black and white subject.

        •  Teacherken has an accountability to (6+ / 0-)

          himself that he has decided it is necessary for him to continue to teach what the law is, and how the law is being ignored or worse.

          A comment ranting against teachers in this diary does nothing but insult teacherken.

          You are in a bad situation. Ranting about your perception of your sister, on all teachers as a generaliztion does not help. You are totally wrong in your facts about teachers.

          I'm sorry you are in a bad situation. If you post your state and city, perhaps someone can help you with getting health care. Is there a decent public transpotation system where you live?

          What do you expect the teachers to chip in? They already spend after school, weekends, school "vacations" with children and parents, lesson plans, correcting tests and essays, keeping up in their field.

          Where I am, teachers buy coats, mittens and boots for some children. Supplies for their classrooms. In toerh states teachers buy books for children that do not have access to school or town libraries.

          You are very despondent. Very understandable. What can Kossacks do to help? Will you visit WYFP?

        •  Don't thank your math teacher, Lane (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattman, stratocasterman, BlueDragon
          He/she did a horrible job of teaching you addition. Or perhaps it was just your typing teacher.

          And let me just say that I, and probably your sister, are happy not to be living in your version of the "real world," where little details like "sick days and benefits and [S]ummers off" are derided and belittled. Then again, if you think that there is "accountability" in the private sector, where CEOs make millions by firing workers, your version of reality may not be too, well, real.

          •  I did not make myself clear. (0+ / 0-)

            I am 100 percent pro-union. I am 100% behind teachers.  I come from a long line of teachers.  I use my sister as an example of the bad ones. One who complains non-stop while the taxpayers have supported her and all her benefits.  She bitches over and over about the poor children receiving free lunch.  Can you believe that?  The god damn tax payers pay thousands for her benefits and she cannot stand the fact that the poor children get a free lunch.  And she gets to buy a lunch if she wants, discounted, paid for by the taxpayers.

            I was ranting and raving only because some people seem to expect their benefits paid for by people who have nothing, like me.  But do not misunderstand me, please,  I am totally pro-union.  But when people, like some teachers whine and moan, especially to people in their own family who have nothing, it makes me want to scream.  

          •  I didn't make myself clear. (0+ / 0-)

            I apologize for that.  I am probably what you would call a socialist.  The rest of my family, including the "teacher" is a right wing self-centered, does not give a damn about her students person.  I just haven't explained myself correctly.  I'm stressed out and pissed off over a lot of things.  I'll try to express myself better in the future. Geez, no one who really knows me would think I was anything close to being a right winger.  I need to brush up on my writing skills.  I used to be pretty good at it.

          •  I hope your kid gets a teacher like her. (0+ / 0-)

            First of all, what does math have to do with it?

            Let's throw this out there for your child.

            She has told me if there is an emergency:

            1. School shooting/lockdown - she was asked to lock an outer door. They have an outer door outside of her classroom door. She said no. She will only lock her classroom door, and that is iffy. She told me she is not about to risk her life for any children.

            2.She told her 2nd graders if there is an emergency, you kids are on your own. That includes shootings, violence, earthquakes, snowstorms etc.

            1. She can't stand to grade papers.  Cons mother/helpers into doing it.  The last one was a major druggie and my sister thinks she stole some money orders and medications out of her purse while helping out with grading and other such duties in the classroom.
            1. Was ccused of some type of "hatred" against a Muslim co-worker. Got out of that somehow. She is anti-non-white persons.  But she's tentured you see, so it doesn't count.
            1. Popped for drugged driving on the way to work and taken to jail. Received administrative pay for an entire half year while they made their decision.  Of course, being tenured, no problem.  Actually got double pay. Regular pay and salary insurance which is basically financed by the taxpayers.

            Too much, too long, too many similar stories. I can't even remember all of them over the years.  There is much more.  And the constant complaining about "no perks to this horrible job."

            I was never able to have children.  But my taxes gladly paid for our schools.  But don't tell me every teacher is some sort of saint.  I know this is not true, first hand. But you guys jump on my butt.  

            •  Teachers are people-- (0+ / 0-)

              For example, there's your sister, and then there's this:

              but I will NOT be able to read or respond to comments on this diary for quite some time -  this morning I am tutoring some students, my planning and lunch periods have just had some additional responsibilities that I will have to address, and I may have a commitment immediately after school.

              I will eventually read all comments.  If you post one, it is possible that I will respond.

              Let me explain that this was written in a burst of frustration and concern.  I acknowledge that it is not necessarily that well thought out, and that some ideas could have been more clearly expressed.

              Please accept this much - even if you disagree with specifics I offer for my feelings, that I am far from alone in my concern for what is happening, and much of what concerns represents a real reshaping of understanding of how our governments are supposed to operate, and what the meaning of some constitutional provisions are.  You may agree or disagree with any of those, even finding my interpretations or understanding wrong.  As I have noted in several comments, my AP students have to read dissents as well as Court opinions, and I point at examples of where Courts have reversed previous precedents to demonstrate that it is therefore not impossible to disagree with the Court's decision (we do have dissents) even as we acknowledge that for the moment its interpretation is binding.

              Perhaps had we not also had Bush's open admission about waterboarding I would not even have written.  As I read the material in the diary to which I linked, I found myself concerned, and began writing, or if you will, venting.

              Now I have to get to my real responsibility, which for now has to be my main concern.

              To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

              by kareylou on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 12:08:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I am perfectly willing to help provide (0+ / 0-)

          teachers with a decent, even mildly enviable life, in hopes that some of our best and brightest will go into teaching rather than finance. If we give up on teaching the next generation we have truly given up all hope.

          I have plenty of complaints about where our tax money goes but this is not one of them.

          No I am not a classroom teacher. My sister is a professor and she works staggering hours, and has a nice amount of vacation time in between, in which she is expected to research and publish. It's a good life but not a particularly cushy one IMO.

          To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

          by kareylou on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 12:12:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I Was In Grad School In The Early 90s (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gerrilea, boofdah, lotlizard, Wanda517

      Journalism of all things. A number of folks from China. It seemed they were trying kind of hard to care about a free press. Now with that said, I am pretty sure they all wanted to stay here.

      "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

      by webranding on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:58:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  apologies (24+ / 0-)

      but I will NOT be able to read or respond to comments on this diary for quite some time -  this morning I am tutoring some students, my planning and lunch periods have just had some additional responsibilities that I will have to address, and I may have a commitment immediately after school.

      I will eventually read all comments.  If you post one, it is possible that I will respond.

      Let me explain that this was written in a burst of frustration and concern.  I acknowledge that it is not necessarily that well thought out, and that some ideas could have been more clearly expressed.

      Please accept this much - even if you disagree with specifics I offer for my feelings, that I am far from alone in my concern for what is happening, and much of what concerns represents a real reshaping of understanding of how our governments are supposed to operate, and what the meaning of some constitutional provisions are.  You may agree or disagree with any of those, even finding my interpretations or understanding wrong.  As I have noted in several comments, my AP students have to read dissents as well as Court opinions, and I point at examples of where Courts have reversed previous precedents to demonstrate that it is therefore not impossible to disagree with the Court's decision (we do have dissents) even as we acknowledge that for the moment its interpretation is binding.

      Perhaps had we not also had Bush's open admission about waterboarding I would not even have written.  As I read the material in the diary to which I linked, I found myself concerned, and began writing, or if you will, venting.

      Now I have to get to my real responsibility, which for now has to be my main concern.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:07:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You teach because (12+ / 0-)

      Because children like mine need to know what's right, because they carry this distinction into the future with them.

      What you do is a form of time travel; you cannot go, but your actions will surely go without you and shape the world. It requires faith because you cannot see what your deeds will do for the length of their reach.

      It's very difficult to keep the faith at a time like this; I have the same problem at home every night when we dissect the news and my kids point out to me that what they are learning in their government classes by day doesn't sync with what they see on the news at night. What I am I doing validating their observations? Should I not be demonstrating to them how to live in a corrupt, dog-eat-dog, I've-got-mine-piss-on-you world?

      No. I can't do it. I can't live with myself doing it, corrupting my unrealized grandchildren. And I'm sure you can't either. That's why we go on with our time traveling efforts, shaping the future the best we can from our remote position here in the soon-to-be past.

      At least we'll keep each other company.

    •  Et tu, Ken? (5+ / 0-)

      Me, three. :(

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:49:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This shocking development (6+ / 0-)

      also seems to be of a piece with the administration's intentions to increasingly privatize public education.

    •  Obama bashing? (0+ / 0-)

      Tut-tut.  He is doing the best he can.  Why are you piling onto the President?

      "Nothing great was ever achieved with out enthusiasm." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by RichM on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:13:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama's doing the best indefnite detnetion he can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mattman

        He sure is.

        Don't dump on Mr. constitutional law.
        Don't dump on Mr. no-use-of-secrecy to subvert habeas corpus.
        Don't dump on Mr. "I have to defend DADT but can't prosecute torturers and  corporate thieves."
        Don't dump on Mr. first-president to order the assassination of American citizens outside of war zones because he says they're terrorists but he can't show evidence because it's a secret.
        Don't dump on Mr. "we need more ability to spy on American citizens without a warrant."

      •  He's either an idiot or complcit (0+ / 0-)

        Kissing Republican ass gave Obama a Boehner.

        by The Dead Man on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:29:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't worry, TeacherKen... (8+ / 0-)

      ...in no time at all, the Department of Education will be defunded.  Then, the alphas will have education and the deltas won't.  The betas will go to parochial school.  The gammas will go into the military.

      Good morning, and welcome to the Brave New World.

      "You wanted Change. We said NO. Vote for us." - GOP

      by ultrageek on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:27:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama said he respected the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe it was the Soviet Constitution he respected.  

      I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

      by deepsouthdoug on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:59:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You read my columns and diaries.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken

      what do you think I think?  Of course I think you are correct in your courage and resolve.  

      I was just having a similar attack of the "blues" this week when some of my Democrat friends slapped me around and told me to keep writing as I am perhaps the only voice of reason still being published in my county.  THAT woke me up to the same realization you mentioned here.  If we give up and stop doing what is inherently right, those fuckers win.

      We are not yet a theocratic oligarchy, but we certainly are headed down that road.  The combination of events during the last few years are frighteningly similar to those that precede the fall of societies.  Teach your kids that.

      Bush I & II.  The Roberts court.  Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.  Mitch McConnell.  Barack Obama.  The wars.  The attack on public education.  The blatant favor to the rich.  Rick Perry and the building secession movement.  Exported jobs.  Legal theft by investment firms and banks.  Tea Baggers.  

      O.K.  That's all I can do while keeping lunch down.

      Keep fighting the good fight.  I will too.

      "Have a beginner's mind at all times, for a beginner knows nothing and learns all while a sophisticate knows all and learns nothing." - Suzuki

      by dolfin66 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 12:48:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You are my hero, teacherken (30+ / 0-)

    Our future is in the hands of teachers. Our future as a species.  Please, keep doing what you are doing.  And thank you so much.  

    We live in hard time. Not end times. - Jon Stewart

    by bluefaction on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:43:28 AM PDT

  •  You evoked fond memories of (24+ / 0-)

    my high school gov teacher in 1965-66.  He was anti-war and did not hesitate to share that with us in the classroom.  I followed up on him in later years to discover that he became the president of a large state university.

    Teach on!

    "If we can't be free at least we can be cheap." Zappa

    by Zwoof on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:50:24 AM PDT

  •  I don't think we can say it's clearly a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HamdenRice, woodtick

    violation of church & state.  What we've got is a facially neutral law that provides a reduction in tax for contributions to organizations that provide scholarships.  Looked at one way, it's not terribly different - if different at all - from providing a tax deduction for the same thing.  Economically, there's not a whole lot of difference, if any, between non-refundable credits and deductions.  The difference is almost entirely a formalistic one.

    I'm of the opinion that it ought to be found unconstitutional (being a formalist), but I don't think the answer is obvious.  

    •  Quick correction: (5+ / 0-)

      Define a corporation as having equal personhood under the constitution to the point where it can use its financial power to manipulate our political processes

      Citizens United didn't define a corporation as having personhood; the majority found the question of personhood to be irrelevant to the analysis (which the dissent takes issue with)

    •  I'll keep my nitpickery to one mini-thread (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice in Florida, woodtick, Alec82

      a wealth of jurisprudence that limited government involvement with religion, even to the point of arguing that much of that jurisprudence was wrongly decided

      What you're referring to here wasn't about establishment clause jurisprudence, but the jurisprudence of taxpayer standing.  

      Here's the relevant passage from the oral argument:

      JUSTICE KAGAN: So if you are right, General Katyal, the Court was without authority to decide Walz, Nyquist, Hunt, Mueller, Hibbs, this -- this very case, just a few years ago?....
      SG Kaytal: First is, I do think it is very much just like Frothingham, in which Frothingham had to deal with this exact problem.  The Court had conferred standing in taxpayer standing case after taxpayer standing case and then, when it was teed up and presented to the Court as a question about Article III standing, the Court said: No, we shouldn't have granted taxpayer standing in those cases.

      IOW, the SG here is just restating the effect of the Court's decision rendered in Frothingham.

      •  issue is not freedom of speech per se (5+ / 0-)

        given that this Court overturned more than half a decade of jurisprudence on the subject of corporate expenditures in elections

        it is even independent of the nature of corporate personhood

        and since you seem to want to be critical, I teach SCOTUS decisions as they are decided.  Whether I agree or not, I also point students at the dissents.  Thus in looking at Plessy I point at the dissent of the first Justice Harlan, and then remind students that the logic of Plessy was rejected over a number of cases, and while not officially overturned in Brown the Court made clear its intent on that matter.

        I point out that Courts have reversed as quickly as 3 years in the past -   Gobitis in 1940 being reversed in Barnette in 1943.

        I teach that a majority opinion of SCOTUS is supposed to be binding reasoning until (a) the Constitution is amended, (b) a law is written to address the issues of constitutionality raised by the Court, (c) a subsequent Court reverses.

        Since the Court, by reversing precedents, has acknowledge that a Court can be wrong, I see no problem with criticizing a decision even as I acknowledge that for the present it is the interpretation that is binding.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:47:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  but even issue of standing (8+ / 0-)

        becomes critical in terms of limiting how a government can push beyond the limits of establishment clause.

        I will clearly grant that merely status as a taxpayer is insufficient to grant standing.  

        However, the argument is, as I read quickly this morning in the remarks by Breyer and Kagan more than this.

        I will acknowledge I have not read all of what is available on the oral arguments.

        I reacted in part because I perceive this as one more body blow, in a time when we are increasingly hearing from members of the party that has just gained control of the House that there is no separation, and with Court that includes Clarence Thomas and his publicly expressed position that the establishment clause is not  incorporated against the states (cases like Engel not withstanding).

        And given the principle, which I accept in cases such as Barnette with respect to Gobitis, that a current Supreme Court can reverse previous jurisprudence as incorrect interpretations of Constitutional provisions, which may happen quickly as it did in that case or over much longer time as happened with respect to Plessy and one might argue on the limitations upon corporate involvement in elections in Citizens United, I am not arguing that a Court cannot reverse a previous decision, but instead pointing at the implications of some recent jurisprudence as well as actions by the two political branches that I think should be considered at a minimum troubling.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:59:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Your job description is simple. Your task is not (22+ / 0-)

    You have to arm those kids with the tools they need to defend themselves when they are on their own.

    I suggest you preach truth and do righteousness as you have been taught whereinsoever those teachings reccomend themselves to your conscience and your judgement... and see you to it that no institution, no political party, no religious organization, no social circle, and no pet ambition should put such chains on you as would tempt you to sacrifice one iota of the moral freedom of your conscience or the intellectual freedom of your judgement.

    Stay in the light :)

    "They don't want to 'win' the war, they just want to have one." -- DelicateMonster

    by 8ackgr0und N015e on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:03:36 AM PDT

  •  Correction-- Teacher Ken, you meant "Florida" (12+ / 0-)

    In your commentary:

    "Tuesday the voters of South Carolina elected to the US House of representatives a man who was fired from the Army when he should have been prosecuted for firing a gun next to the ear of a prisoner he was interrogating...."

    You were confusing Tim Scott with Allen West, another incoming African American GOP member.

    Links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

  •  You are on the hot seat, for sure. (13+ / 0-)

    A question for you:

    Do the things you've told us represent analysis, or personal opinion?

    While you are personally disappointed, to the extent that what you've written represents fact and analysis, it seems to me that it is appropriate material to teach.

    You have taught for a long time.  You must have reached a decision what degree of editorial content is appropriate.  Maybe for now you want to err on the low side and let the facts speak.  I think they will.

    When I was exposed to the basics of US history and government (rudimentary stuff at an earlier grade than you teach) it was all about how wonderful our system and country are.  I grew up with the idea that we are great and things are just getting better and better.  

    I bet I'm not the only one and, who knows--maybe that is a reason for the complacency that leads Americans not to vote; maybe that is the reason for this business of exceptionalism, that we are somehow wonderful whether our actions uphold our supposed values or not.

    Maybe it is fully appropriate to teach that this nation was founded on vision, principle, and courage, a legacy that is now in grave danger.  Wish I knew my Roman history; maybe there's an analogy there.

    Maybe if kids grow up learning that this great framework is under threat, they'll be inclined to act to protect it?

    Ken, we need you now more than ever.

  •  Lest we forget what it was supposed to be, (13+ / 0-)

    and sometimes has partly been, and what we are striving toward as "more perfect".

    Sometimes we teach it so it can't be erased by deniers and propagandizers. We must witness for the history we've lived to children who will pass it on because they see how very strongly you or I care about these concepts.

    My tank photo memory is much older.  A man throwing a rock at a Russian tank in an eastern European nation where people were desperately trying to regain their lost freedom.

    I think about it when I see folks blithely giving up so easily that which was earned so hard.

    Hopefully it won't have to come to tanks in the streets --- but I know I'd go throw the rock too if it gets that desperate.  

    Meanwhile, words are weapons that can help us get back to caring about each other and showing real respect.  Keep throwing as many good words as we can.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:22:49 AM PDT

  •  Poetry (15+ / 0-)

    What then am I teaching?  Why do I bother?

    Because so far no one has tried to stop me.

    Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

    by bink on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:22:52 AM PDT

  •  Is Obama worse than Bush? (9+ / 0-)

    In the 2006 book "Dark Ages America" Morris Berman makes the point that when an empire is declining they choose leaders who hasten the decline. He was writing about W Bush.

    It looks like Obama is following in his footsteps.

    Please take the 14 minutes to watch the video of Glenn Greenwald and Cenk Uygur (the young turks) on the Dylan Radigan show yesterday. It takes a while for the image to come up and get to the video. If someone knows how to get it directly from youtube could you provide the link.

    http://www.salon.com/...

    Our country has fallen so far that there is now a war on teachers. Keep up the outstanding work Ken.

    •  Wrong question and wrong metric. (15+ / 0-)

      Of course Obama is not worse than Bush.

      Bush really was one of the worst presidents in US history.

      Obama is plenty bad on his own terms, however. He is (IMO at least) clearly better than Bush overall. But that's really cold comfort, especially when it concerns issues like education in which his policies are largely continuations of Bush's.

      "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

      by GreenSooner on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:52:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama is smarter than Bush (10+ / 0-)

        Remember when Democrats were up in arms about civil liberties issues?

        What has Obama done? Is he going to cover up crimes? Bush just released his book saying that he authorized water boarding. That is a crime. Obama is going after people who speak out.

        The Republicans lie when they are against deficits and for the Bush tax cut. Obama has let out signals that he is open to compromise.  Look what he did on health care with the meetings with the insurance companies leading to their law.

        Here is a test if Obama supports the constitution and if he is willing to take on the corporations and the big money people who run politics. Take an issue with overwhelming public support and make it the big deal in the lame duck session. Force the Republicans to take a clear stand. The issue is: Transparency of Campaign Financing.

        If he doesn't do this, this shows that he is a coward or has sold out to the big money. As it is noted in the video from Dylan Ratigan's show, he has ducked a clear fight on many issues.

        Dan Froomkin has a column at huffington post on what Obama can do even with less congressional support. I don't know if he will do any of them. What about DADT which he could have handled with an executive order?

        •  I'm not defending Obama on these things. (7+ / 0-)

          But he's clearly better than Bush on a whole host of issues.

          Bush would never have passed the stimulus bill. He'd never have bailed out the auto industry.  

          The HIR bill was totally inadequate.  Elena Kagan was not a good SCOTUS nominee.

          But HIR was better than nothing. And Kagan is much better than Alito.

          So if the question is "does Obama support the constitution and is he willing to take on the corporations and the big money people who run politics," the answer is, "absolutely not on both counts."  Both major parties are bought and paid for by corporate America.

          But Obama's still measurably better than Bush...or anyone the GOP will nominate in 2012.  

          So I'm glad I voted for him in 2008. And I'll almost certainly vote for him again in 2012.

          Lesser evils are both evil and less evil than greater evils.

          That's the two party system today.

          "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

          by GreenSooner on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:15:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Reply to GreenSooner (7+ / 0-)

            Here is where I come from on this issue.

            I just finished the new book by Bill McKibben "Eaarth."

            He makes the point that the earth that we have known no longer exists and will not exist again for at least a thousand years. No one knows how to refreeze the arctic or stop the rise of sea levels or the many other change that science has predicted and are happening before out eyes.

            My point is that the country we have known is gone. If one starts from this premise, which is what teacherken has done with this post, then one realizes how serious the problems are and the longer the delay in acting the harder it will be to solve them. In the last post I mentioned campaign finance. The corporations and big money already own the government and with a couple of more election cycles Fox news will run the government.

            Only by realizing that Obama gives the patina of liberal and uses the words of liberals but is in fact bringing on a totalitarian state, can we start the organizing necessary to change course.

            See the book by the leading political philosopher in the US, Sheldon Wolin, Democracy Inc: Managed Democracy and the Rise of Inverted Totalitarianism."

            •  Half agree (6+ / 0-)

              Totally agree about the dangers to the environment.

              Disagree, in part, about the "country we have known." Corporate domination of our democracy goes back decades and decades.  Though some details have changed, new left critics of liberalism fifty years ago said many of the same things you are saying. They and you have a point. But these problems aren't new.

              Disagree totally about the appropriateness of the word "totalitarian."  I've written a book (literally) on that term.  I think there are problems with it even used carefully and narrowly; it's always been as much invective as analysis.

              Wolin's term "inverted totalitarianism" is interesting.  It is, in part, an intentionally polemical term, using "totalitarian" to call attention to the seriousness of our problems. But that adjective--"inverted"--is important, too.  Wolin himself admits that the US is nothing like "classical totalitarianism," so he basically extends the term to cover the US by the metaphor of inversion.

              Ultimately I think this move obscures more than it illuminates.  Societies and political systems can die of many diseases. And our disease is quite differeng, IMO, from that of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

              Does this mean we need to seek serious--even radical--solutions to these very real problems? Absolutely.

              But it also means that those solutions will not come form electoral politics, which are severely circumscribed by our two party system.

              And when we talk about that two-party system, the Democrats are, in fact, less bad than the Republicans.  On the margins, that makes a real difference to real human lives, all of which last shorter than the thousand year time frame that your argument begins with.

              So we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. Seek real solutions outside of "normal" politics, while making the less bad choice in elections.

              "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

              by GreenSooner on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:41:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  another reply to GreenSooner (4+ / 0-)

                Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

                I talk each week with a historian who is writing a book on the changes of our constructional governance and he thinks that we will never get back the system we had. Three years ago he thought this and in the last 6 months it has become out in the open in a way that makes it clear what is going on.

                His arguments are mostly drawn from the founding fathers to revitalize their insights and reasoning which is needed in our time.

                His big problem is to get people to go beyond the normal frame in which we understand our country with frames like seeing America as an exceptional nation.

                I am being a little over the top to make a point.

                Since you included an email when clicking on your name, I will follow up with you by email.

                Thanks for your thoughtful comments.  

            •  I think you are right on this Don (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mattman, Don midwest

              One of many thinks that has annoyed me over the past few days is that a lot of the political analysis particularly on NPR and the corporate media has been stuck in the world of the past.  This election represents the triumph of corporate hegemony.  Sure the Democratic Party is monumentally bad at framing and messaging, but the Citizens United Not Timid ruling changes everything.  The economic world has changed as well.  Sure the unemployment report this morning was better than expected, but the US economy is essentially a Zombie and the Rethugs elected to Congress will not make things better.  The environment?  If there was hope before Tuesday of dealing with anthropomorphic climate disruption, its gone now.  Obama?  I think you summed it up nicely.

      •  "Better than Bush" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Oh Mary Oh

        "hotter than ice"
        "thinner than a hog"
        "whiter than coal"
        ...
        Anyway, with all the "Obama is no different from Bush," crap around, your point about the "wrong metric" is excellent. And that's a great sig...

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:54:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It is a question of degrees (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, Don midwest, adrianrf

        We might agree that if one has no particular political opinion that Obama may be better than Bush since he appears more capable etc. and certainly has a good grasp of the language (important to me) and has slightly less regressive ideology.

        Having said that most of the differences are slight and mainly cosmetic. The important aspects of American political life and, indeed, any politics is the the matter of class-struggle. Here there is no difference. Another aspect is war--again very little difference. Both Obama and Bush represent the ruling oligarchs--Obama would like some slight alleviation of the misery of the poor but not policies that actually create prosperity or justice for the poor. So, from the POV of a leftist Obama and Bush are very similar. If you are a centrist, however, Obama is clearly preferable.

  •  Thanks for this (16+ / 0-)

    I feel the same way.  I'm off to this morning to teach the American Revolution to 14 year old kids.  I sometimes think they have a better understanding of how our country is meant to be than many adults.  I remind my self everyday that they are the future and right now, because of them, the future looks a little better.

    "Only the educated are free." -Epictetus

    by 20shadesofviolet on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:23:26 AM PDT

    •  Make sure they understand the real causes (8+ / 0-)

      of the revolution before they get hijacked by the YAF recruiters spouting off about freedom for the rich to oppress everyone else and pushing Rand on them.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:30:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  feel free to borrow (4+ / 0-)

      my ancestors, who fought it.

      show them ancestry.com, where THEIR ancestors are, waiting to be refound. humbling is a long long way from how you feel, seeing original documents with a family member's name.

      or use findagrave.com where ancients are who came ashore near where you are, or where THEIR ancestors came ashore, to put another view before them.

      involve them in usgenweb.org, the wonderful volunteer-only and FREE national organization created to help families find their kin, and put your ancestor's name in...or THEIRS.

      there won't be faces for many of the names, but there will be fact after fact after fact, including many references to more facts, the small details making larger impressions because of family connections.

      we were awful to ourselves, we were wonderful to ourselves, we were brutal conquerors, we were humane neighbors, just as we still are.

      John Waddell and John Sevier were friends...Nancy Ward was a Cherokee leader...McAlisters fought at Paulus Hook...

      The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [...you know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

      by greenbird on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:54:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Arizona Case (5+ / 0-)

    Is because the White House sees it as a way to break the government stranglehold on publicly-funded education.  (Kind of a weird thing to do when you think of it -- why should the public fund any other kind of education?)

    Government saved the markets and sacrified its people.

    by bink on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:23:43 AM PDT

  •  Obama can do these things and get away with it (19+ / 0-)

    because he has sacks of shit like this asshole for worshipful defenders, and they've invaded this site with their sheer loathsomeness and divisive trolling:

    Oh Gawd

    This isn't college. He's not operating in a textbook and he's not a robot. I downloaded some music illegally a few years ago and he still hasn't come after me. Tough.

    Bush and Co were terrible people. They broke laws, but the standard of proof would have been very high, and the cost to the country of investigating and prosecuting those crimes would have been enormous. It would have been the textbook definition of a pyrrhic victory. When you're the president, you have to make impossible choices. Often there are competing moral obligations.

    At the end of the day, the "at his discretion" defense is WHY we have a president in the white house and not a robot. We elect him based on our gut connection to him and our intuitions about how he'll use his discretion. Period. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

    This was in direct response to a comment I made about why Obama is constitutionally obligated to prosecute war criminals and that this duty trumps all discretionary ones:

    Prosecuting suspected criminals

    was their expressly enumerated constitutional duty, as per Article II, Section 3:

    he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed

    This is as basic as it gets. Persuing HCR and rescuing the economy, as necessary as they were and falling as they do under the "general welfare" clause of Article I, Section 8 (and thus primarily falling under the purview of congress, not the president), simply isn't as basic, because they're unenumerated and thus open to interpretation.

    A president can pursue whatever agenda he likes, and really needs to, but NOT at the exclusion of the duties that he is constitutionally bound to perform. Which he did not in this case. Even if doing so might impinge upon that agenda. It doesn't work that way.

    And please don't give me the "at his discretion" defense, which is nonsense.

    Why do we tolerate this, here, in the administration, or anywhere? Just because they're on "our" side? Wrong is wrong whether it's red or blue or chartreuse.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:28:45 AM PDT

    •  Kovie - right on target (4+ / 0-)

      If the constructional professor doesn't act on the basics, what is he doing?

      I have not followed the attacks on you, but if you check out my posts on this blog, it looks like I may start getting the same treatment that you are getting.

      I have followed your comments over the years and the one that leads to this reply hits the nail on the head.

      The worship of the wisdom of the people does not work when we are unable to understand what the problem are and how to work them. They are repeating talking points which in the age of "I am because I have an opinion" passes for wisdom.

      Are the attacks on you from Obama trolls, or just people who cannot accept the fact that we have strayed so far from our roots, as pointed out by teacherken, that this is a new place.

    •  Kovie - I have been attacked also (0+ / 0-)

      Kovie,

      I was writing another comment on this diary and since I have written several about ACORN I told people to click on my name and go to see my old diaries.

      Someone or somehow my diaries have been deleted.

      Dozens of diaries gone.

      Do you know of anyone else to whom this has happened?

    •  Agree so much (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, adrianrf, CuriousBoston

      The notion that Obama has the discretion to tell the Justice Department not to investigate crimes makes a mockery of democracy.  The decision not to investigate Bushco and the apparent decision not to investigate Wall St. in any meaningful way was awful, awful, awful but the idea the the President can decide which crimes to investigate is worse.

  •  It's a real moral dilemma for teachers (17+ / 0-)

    Either teach the lie and keep your job. Or teach the truth and get fired.

    I wonder how Teddy Roosevelt would be treated today in a modern civics class. He fought the Robber Barons and won. Today the Robber Barons have returned and no one will admit it. Not the MSM, not government officials -- no one (except some bloggers).

    It took me many years to unlearn all the false civics crap they taught me in skool.

    But your flag decal won't get you Into Heaven any more. They're already overcrowded From your dirty little war. -- John Prine (also flag lapel pins)

    by CitizenOfEarth on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:29:18 AM PDT

  •  Feels like you're fishing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    woodtick

    Can you name me one famous teacher from any point in history who didn't address the perverse contradictions of a status quo? Welcome to the job.

  •  I Think It Must Have Been Like (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Blair, roadbear, Oh Mary Oh

    well Civics class. 1986. Do we have that any more? My mom and dad are not liberals. But, alas at school we had civics class. Often we learned shit. I guess not so much these days.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:34:37 AM PDT

  •  First they came for ACORN, next teachers (12+ / 0-)

    How many canaries in the coal mine have to die before we realize that the country is fundamentally changed.

    How low have we fallen when teachers are objects of attack by the right wing with the corporate profits in the charter schools and one of the final hold outs of union members?

    Just finished "Eaarth" by Bill Mckibben. A long time environmentalist who founded 350.org. He changes the spelling of Earth because what we knew of the earth will never be the same in our life time and probably for the next 1,000 years. There is now way to bring back the Artic, no known way to reduce the acidity levels of the ocean, no way to stop the rise of sea level. In other words, the earth we knew no longer exists.

    Ken's column says the country we knew no longer exists. Unlike the environment, there are things that can be done, but only with extreme effort.  

    •  My daughter is a teacher in FL. (10+ / 0-)

      Their new gov -- Rick Scott, the guy who made $200 million scamming Medicare -- has said he intends to scrap teachers' pensions, do away with the entire public school system and force all students and teachers into charter (read: private corporation-run) schools.

      She is depressed, disillusioned, and feels very much like the diarist in that she works very hard everyday and wonders if it's really making a difference b/c she's not seeing that it is.

      I agree with you that there are things that can be done to turn this country around, but I don't see any leadership with the courage to do it.  I thought the mandate we gave the Democrats in 2006 would, and the wins in 2008 . . . people have only so much patience, and mine's about run out.

      •  bluezen - look to my post above Bush vs Obama (6+ / 0-)

        The war on teachers is part of the war on our country. My posts above starting with the one on the left margin "Is Obama worse than Bush" and a couple of follow up posts lay out my case that the system has fundamentally changed and the "liberal" Obama, unless he does some of the changes I mention above to show who he is for, unless he goes beyond getting along with the forces of Bush, then things will get worse in a hurry.

        What a change when one of the last stands against the fall of our government is teachers. Who thought about the teachers as radicals? They are only trying to teach the children but the conditions of their work have changed as all our systems collapse.

        At least when Bush was president, some of the democrats stood up to him. Now it looks like Obama is enabling the republicans to continue their destruction.

        •  Don, I grew up in the Jim Crow South. (4+ / 0-)

          I know what it's like to live without freedom of the press and having to teach the lie if you want to have a job -- been there, done that.  I was on the student-side of the desk, but I saw it and experienced it (my mother was a teacher in rural LA).

          Now, the rest of the country is about to get a taste of what was going on in the South in the 1950s.  I'm not religious, but god help us all -- this is going to be ugly.

        •  "Lies My Teacher Told Me" James W Loewen. (5+ / 0-)

          This book has been out about 10 years, I missed it when it came out, and of course in the Patriot Act Bush triumphalism war fever it was a modest success.

          It explains how teachers get turned and beaten down and misinformed themselves and part of the oppression unless they are ready to deal WITH THE MYTHS  and the false narratives and 'facts' of current wisdom that is really nothing of the sort.

          There are many, many good teachers.  The success of teacher defense organizations like unions and improved conditions and pensions which is a recent (last forty years or so) phenomenon, is under attack just as other workers see attacks on their standard of living.

            What teachers do is teach conservative principles  to support the existing culture and government. That  has always been the case, and its universal, not unique to America.

          Where it becomes a rallying point, a revolutionary act to teach and enlighten, is in times like today when the crumbling economic and political system needs to get more extreme and rip the democracy to shreds to preserve itself and control the underclasses so the elites and overprivileged can continue to grow and thrive.  Teachers are forced into obedience and loyalty tests, not to America but a peculiar static America that preserves in broad daylight:

           Policies and actions known or easily explained to be wrong or defying the constitution and the rule of law.  Discrimination, corruption falsification of basic things such as history and science to justify wrongs committed formerly and right in front of us today.

             Teachers are incredibly important because that is a place where the injustice and the crimes committed by the worst including dismantling what's left of our democracy can be whitewashed and implanted and further eroded in the next generation.

           So let us unite and pay attention and go to bat for teachers, support the outspoken and honest among them even more than we do now.

           Courage is something we all have in varying degrees to share, you  alone don't have to look at it as a miracle.

           Good luck to you and keep fighting the good fight all the rest of you teachers out there.

                  Last little example: My straight up retired
          Democrat "moderate" sister in law spent 29 years in special education. She did her last 4 in special remedial English classes to rescue students falling behind.  At a time when special ed teachers burned out after some 8 years in her district she took on the "uneducables", the ones that were being babysat,
          and saw them thru to graduation from high school in many, many cases. She even ended up teaching the kids of some of them, and getting good results there too.

          "My Mom knows you and says you are a good teacher!"

          So, no handwringing please.  The bravery is all around you if you just lift your head, stop staring down,  and notice.

          cast away illusions, prepare for struggle

          by Pete Rock on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:07:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  First they came for the flight controlers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State

      When Reagan fired the flight controllers in 1981 and got away with it, that was the beginning of this Brave New World.

  •  Since you are probably busy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, lotlizard, JanL, Oh Mary Oh

    "teaching what's on the test", are you permitted to assign extracurricular readings for extra credit? Maybe "Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire" or Chris Hedges, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle"? Have those who read give a presentation. Alternately, can you create debates where students present arguments pro-con any of the issues at hand? I don't know if you can teach as much as illuminate and have students thinking for themselves.

    "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons."

    by the fan man on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:39:35 AM PDT

  •  Ken, we have always had two governments, (5+ / 0-)
    one for the rich and powerful and well-connected, and the other for the rest of us. It's just that it's never been so blatantly apparent as it is now. Nor has it ever been quite so blatantly apparent that the "Equal Justice Under Law" adorning the Supreme Court building is simply an empty slogan.

    I weep for America.

  •  Time for a Non-Electoral Political Movement (8+ / 0-)

    Designed to put pressure on "our" elected officials.

    Think Tea Party (because, sad to say, it's the most effective social movement in the US today, astroturf and all)...but progressive populist in orientation.

    When I have a moment, I'm going to throw up a diary with some ideas about this. But I'm deadly serious.

    Voting for centrist Democrats and hoping will, at least, keep the GOP out of power. But as this diary suggests, it is very much not enough to move this country in the right direction.

    "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

    by GreenSooner on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:47:51 AM PDT

    •  Best recent source of this is ACORN (4+ / 0-)

      Recommend book by John Atlas called "Seeds of Change."

      ACORN worked with the poor for 40 years and did things which I didn't think were possible including engaging people in the political (more than politics), forming unions, and accomplishing many other things. You can see some of the postings I did on this by clicking on my name.

      The video from Dylan Ratigan's show is another powerful piece on the need for the grass roots organizing you are promoting.

      If you click on my name, then click on "comments" and go back a few of them, there are several posts on ACORN that might be useful.

      •  ACORN was superb, I agree. (5+ / 0-)

        But I think we need something a little different now.

        Still, it's important to remember what happened to ACORN: the GOP killed it and the Democratic Party assisted in its death.  

        Given that ACORN helped elect Democrats, the Party's willingness to stand idly by while it was eviscerated speaks volumes about what DC Democrats are most afraid of. Most would prefer the Republican Party's brand of conservatism to actual progressive populism.

        "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

        by GreenSooner on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:34:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  TK, keep up the good fight (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, lotlizard, CuriousBoston

    You are doing more than most to inspire the next generation! Hopefully, they can break out of this cycle of one step forward, three steps backward, that our political system is trapped in.

    That's Countdown for the 2,082nd day since Mission Accomplished. You thought that would change? Are the troops home yet? Keith Olbermann January 20, 2009

    by Ed in Montana on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:51:13 AM PDT

  •  You are making a difference (6+ / 0-)

    I am your age, Ken, and I can remember a very few teachers that that made me aware of the moral issues of our times. They had a lasting impact, the rest are forgotten. Your goal is to be that teacher.

  •  ? I think you have a typo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, adrianrf

    in the "Magna Carter"...

    But otherwise - I really understand the despair of trying to teach government while the ideals of America are regularly being whittled away. I don't really recognize so much of it any more.  To quote the teabaggers: I want my country back....the one that held so much promise, not the perversion that seems to be coming to pass.

    I seriously am looking at becoming an ex-pat if the 2012 elections bring the real loons into power. It's bad enough now - what would these people do with unfettered power?

    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

    by blue armadillo on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:56:29 AM PDT

    •  thanks - was typing quickly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah, lotlizard, blue armadillo

      while trying to get out the door to school, where I now am.  I apologize for that or any other typos I might have.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:00:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was a little Freudian slip (8+ / 0-)

        Jimmy CARTER was one of our most moral presidents, following the intent of the Constitution based on the Magna Carta.  (He would have had the AG prosecute the war crimes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & Co.)

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe." A. Einstein

        by moose67 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:06:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I always blame a misbehaving keyboard... (0+ / 0-)

        but I know you are a stickler for accuracy and wouldn't want a typo to mar the message you were sharing with us.

        I admire your dedication both to your students and to the community here.

        Good luck dealing with your role as government teacher as we watch our own system rot from the inside. I am so sad about the state of affairs but given that the golden rule is now in force (as in "those with the gold make the rules") I don't know how we fight back.

        "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

        by blue armadillo on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:58:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If they ever do get unfettered power, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sandblaster, lotlizard, flygrrl, codairem

      there will be nowhere in the world that one would feel safe as these people are war crazy. Their solution to every problem is to wage war. Well, maybe they wouldn't attack England, but I wouldn't count on that either.

      In the lead up to the Iraq War, Bush threatened countries with economic oblivion if they did not cooperate with the US. Since the US banks and brokers have already brought economic devastation to the rest of the world, that threat can't be used again. Wonder what they will come up with as a threat short of bombs?

      Has anyone studied the law cases in the period leading up to the Civil War in light of how the civil laws and the Constitution were being challenged by those who wanted war? Is there any similarity to this current period? Or are we in new territory today?

      "We have cast our lot with something bigger than ourselves" - President Obama, July 30, 2010

      by Overseas on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:14:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, teacherken (5+ / 0-)

    We need more people like you educating our students, telling them it wasn't always this way, and doesn't have to be.  The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and the more they can have their eyes opened, the more likely they are to fight to fix what has gone wrong in our country.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 04:57:28 AM PDT

  •  Oh, Ken! (7+ / 0-)

    I am so sorry that you have to suffer such torment.  I know how hard it is to get up in front of kids and try to tell them what is right when there is so much wrong.  Like you, I had hopes that at least some of the most egregious ideas and practices of the past would be curtailed or cut off.  I am so grateful that students have people like you who continue to teach in the face of such nonsense.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:06:04 AM PDT

  •  Very Well Written (13+ / 0-)

    I remember a day, during the last administration, waking up to think about the way I was raised.  At the risk of dating myself, I was raised watching such TV programs as 'Leave it to Beaver'.  The world that Bush created here in the United States doesn't even begin to resemble what I thought the US was supposed to be about.  You've put into words things that I've been feeling for a long time.  In some sense, most of the people think we are one thing, even though through actions, we've proven we are the opposite.  It's one of the reasons that our citizens steadfastly refuse to recognize when our foreign policy hurts others.  Our citizens state, no matter the evidence to the contrary, we are the best in the world.  It's the idea of AMerican exceptionalism.  How exceptional are we really if there are better countries to live in?  Other coutnries recognize health care to be a basic human need.  Other countries recognize a woman's right to fair pay.  Other countries do not imprison people just to fill their prisons with workers whose labor can then be offered up on the stock exchange.  Other countries recognize the right of gays to serve in the military.  Other countries recognize a person's right to work as a basic need.  In this country, year after year, you have to keep fighting the same battles over and over again.  No sooner do you win your rights in some form then the opposition, who doesn't want anyone to have any rights, is pouring money into elections to turn your hard won rights around.  The only thing you can do is keep teaching and while you are doing it inject some reality and truth so that the next generation will not be brain washed into thinking the US is always right, even when we are wrong.

    "..faith is believing what you know aint so." Mark Twain

    by nyskeptic on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:09:17 AM PDT

  •  The Constitution became quaint (18+ / 0-)

    under cheney/bush.  I was teaching a class in Constitutional Law/Criminal Law to "Dual Enrollment" students (seniors in HS getting their first College credits).  

    1.  I learned while teaching that class during the Bush administration that random police checks/roadblocks were now legal, no probable cause, and that LE could and did use any excuse to stop people on the road whenever they wanted here in Florida, including as a means of racial profiling.
    1.  I learned that when I showed my class a popular film about the abuses and cruelties suffered by prison inmates in the US (I had worked with sexual offenders in prison and out, under Community Control/Probation), the students were not interested.  The film was nowhere near as graphic as I knew the abuses to be.  My students were bored with the film.  Most, except for two out of thirty, felt that anything the prisoners suffered, up to and including death at the hands of other inmates was their own fault and they deserved it.
    1.  Most of the students had no comprehension as to what the Constitutional rights of Americans mean.  Apparently, during their lives, this issue never came up.
    1.  Some of the female students groomed one another during class, including doing nails and hair and discussing their newest tops and shoes and where they could be bought.  They were the highest graded seniors in HS and they were mostly uninterested in the subject matter, but the grades all had to be A's, according to every parent who contacted me when a son or daughter ws given a C.  College admission absolutely required that they be given A's

    I quit teaching after that one year.  It was disheartening.

    •  Pretty much what I experienced, too. (4+ / 0-)

      And why I quit.

    •  I often wondered (4+ / 0-)

      why every American student you read about is described as a "straight A student". Does that have any meaning in reality?

    •  Spoke to a teacher at my daughter's top ranked (9+ / 0-)

      school a few months ago. She told me how often parents call her when grades are not "what they should be".  She mentioned one instance years ago where the student had failed 2 tests and often forgot homework.  The parent insisted that his son deserved an A and that the teacher was being too harsh.  The teacher told him no, over and over again, but the parent would not get off the phone.  She told the parent that she was going to hang up now and the parent threatened her!  Said he was going to find out where she lived!  

      The teacher, amazingly, stood her ground and told the parent that all calls to school were recorded (which they weren't) and that she would be sharing the tape with administrators and the police.  The parent then apologized and begged her because his son would not get on the honor role without the A and didn't she care about his future?   Amazingly (again) she told the parent that she did care and that his son needed to learn that you can't get an A if you did not earn it.   The parent then said and I quote "Only stupid hippy liberals believe that!" and hung up on her.  

      ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

      by Back In Blue on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:24:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Taking calls at home? (0+ / 0-)

        Why is this teacher taking calls from parents at home?  She should meet with such parents at the school, in person and with a school representative (counselor) present.  The teacher needs to protect his or her boundaries and not be there for every jerk phone call.

        •  She got the call at school. (4+ / 0-)

          told the parent that all calls to school were recorded

          I don't know if she takes calls at home, but I do know that personal information like that is not given out by the school and she never mentioned getting calls at home.   I volunteer to support her class and even I do not  have her home phone number.

          ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE! - Supreme Court of the United States. Amend the constitution! Corporations are NOT people!! Money is NOT speech!

          by Back In Blue on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:59:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A voice in the wilderness. (5+ / 0-)

    Keep speaking truth to power, which you do very well.  You have a positive effect on your students, and your opinions here are read by many, and have influence.  Right now, it all may seem like shouting into a hurricane wind, but if we as a nation ever recover our sanity, those who, during the madness, still remembered what the Constitution actually said will be remembered as heros.

    -5.13,-5.64; EVERYTHING is an approximation! -Hans A. Bethe

    by gizmo59 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:15:30 AM PDT

  •  teacherken, we need you... (5+ / 0-)

    for the next generation of teachers and citizens. Sometimes the fruits of our work don't show up until 10 or more years after our students have left us.
    What separates teaching from the nihilistic wall street mentality is our investment in human values- social justice, fairness, and civil rights for "the least of our brothers."  

  •  You Just Can't Give Up. (4+ / 0-)

    If you look at the history of civilization we have made tremendous progress over time.  There are lots of times when the progress slips, such as now, but as MLK said, "The arc of history bends towards justice."  I would say that the arc of history is "bent" towards justice by the millions of nameless people who did not give up and who "keep hope alive" during the darkest hours.

  •  I read everything you write Ken... (9+ / 0-)

    ... and sometimes I disagree, but this is one of your best.  I hope our President is going through a similar reflection.

    I am an expat living in Quebec and the French dialect here includes an expression ¨bon courage¨ which is literally ¨good courage¨ but has a meaning more like ¨keep the faith¨ or ¨don't lose heart¨. I wish you and the rest of this community ¨bon courage¨ this morning.

    Peace.

  •  teacherken, we need you... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Back In Blue, CuriousBoston

    for the next generation of teachers and citizens. Sometimes the fruits of our work are not apparent until 10 or more years after our students leave us.
    What separates teaching from the nihilistic wall street mentality are our values of social justice, fairness, and equal rights for "the least of our brothers."
    We need your voice in the classroom and here. Thank-you.

  •  Standing in front of the tank (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, CuriousBoston

    The real question is: who among us would do that?  Is there anyone left with the courage, the conviction?  

    Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

    by xgy2 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:28:12 AM PDT

  •  teacherken (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, lotlizard, Don midwest, adrianrf

    Yeah, starting around last year reading about you and your students, I wondered how you were going to deal with the divide between teaching US government and how things are actually running now. Your answer in this diary is just about what I expected.

    "I never bought a man who wasn't for sale," -- Robber Baron William A. Clark

    by frostyinPA on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:40:09 AM PDT

  •  teacherken, I was under the impression that (4+ / 0-)

    the Department of Justice represented the State, and that the State, through the legislative branch, put laws into effect which the Department of Justice is then mostly obligated to support in court, whether or not they're stupid laws, and that a judge and possibly a jury then gets to determine if the laws are stupid so as to strike them down or nullify their consequences. So if I were you, I'd teach your students that the constitution is actually working the way the constitution is supposed to, now that the Attorney General is not a political arm of the executive branch anymore. You could also teach your students that nations do all kinds of things in war that don't result in people being prosecuted. Churchill firebombed Dresden and knew ahead of time that tens of thousands of civilians would die. Purposely destroying civilian population centers is a war crime, and yet Churchill lived a long life after the war and Dresden never really came up as something for which he should be punished. So you can teach your students that in war, the winning side actually wins, which means for the most part, it doesn't punish its own side for doing whatever is believed necessary to win. If the Germans had landed troops on British soil, I guarandamnedtee you that the British would have used chemical weapons, if they'd been around somewhere, to stop them. I also promise you that the Allies occasionally tortured prisoners of war to gain information on troop deployments, etc.

  •  The fact of the matter (3+ / 0-)

    ...is that the scribes of the law have turned the letter of the Constitution against its spirit.

    They claim to understand the true intent of the writers of the Constitution and yet are hellbent in overturning precedent that protects the integrity of the processes of governance.

    We are rapidly devolving to a banana republic in which corporations command a police state.

    And there are serious questions as to whether Eric Holder really is in control of the Department of Justice from a management and direction standpoint.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:58:23 AM PDT

  •  My first instinct is for the (4+ / 0-)

    protection of my children, because they are too small to protect themselves.  That trumps any soul-searching about whether my own life has any remaining "purpose." I have to frankly decide whether they are better served in the long run by my staying here or leaving. That answer used to by crystal-clear--but it is no longer.  The country that I grew up in and learned to love is rapidly becoming unrecognizable, and with it my feelings of "duty" to it are fading.

    There are innumerable aspects of life in this country that are beautiful and worthwhile without consideration of the collapse of its government into a corporatocracy, just as I'm sure there are in most other countries.  The question I am facing is whether, on balance, those aspects provide enough benefit to my kids to stay in the face of what is really starting to look like a type of fascism.

  •  Teach them democracy is mortal (8+ / 0-)

    And can be killed off if people don't participate, and don't do the things that are necessary to keep it.

    And show them the examples.

    Patriot Acts I & II
    Warrantless Wiretapping
    War Crimes
    Military Tribunals
    Indefinite detention
    And my favorite Bush quote "The constitution is just a god-damned piece of paper".

    They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead, Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread? Yip Harburg

    by Captain Janeway on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:02:45 AM PDT

    •  "A Republic, if you can keep it." (4+ / 0-)

      We didn't.

      neca politicos omnes; deus suos agnoscet.

      by khereva on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:41:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A more eloquent version of Bush's quotation... (5+ / 0-)

      Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get.

      Frederick Douglass, 1857

      We have the rights we are willing to fight for.  Sometimes we don't get even those -- as Douglass said, we may not get all we pay for in the world (the folks at Tienanmen didn't get what they paid for), but we do need to pay for all we get.

      Anything we're not willing to fight for isn't a right - it's a preference.

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:38:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  why I teach government (0+ / 0-)

      is to make clear that if my students and others are not actively involved they could wake up one day and find rights they had always assumed might no longer be there.

      What then do I say when I, who has been very politically active for almost all of my adult life, look out and wonder what is happening to the rights we had assumed?

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:41:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Have you seen/heard Rand Paul ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, codairem

    Says lots of stuff that's mock libertarian, but comes down hardball fascist.

    We can expect to see a lot of that pattern going forward. Obama's DoJ is up to its neck in it.

    Career criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + Pro-Life Christians =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:14:36 AM PDT

  •  This situation is a challenge to each of us (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, adrianrf, moose67, Oh Mary Oh

    both collectively and individually. For me, the lesson of the past two years is that there is no hope for political change any time soon. When voters see the Democrats as the party of Wall Street and here we are on a Democratic Party blog trying to push for what we would have hoped was the party of Roosevelt this should make us think a little.

    Where is the possibility for change when one of the two parties in this system is pro-Wall Street and the other one is even more pro-Wall Street? It is very, very obvious that we have a one-party state here--the differences are a matter of ethnic and cultural/tribal differences.

  •  Teach both... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moose67, Oh Mary Oh

    what it's becoming, and what it should be.

  •  I teach English and language, and always point (5+ / 0-)

    out the duplicity of the language on the right. If I get fired for it, so be it. I cannot lie to my students.

    My new bumper sticker: Palin-Satan '12

    by adigal on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:26:09 AM PDT

  •  Historical context (4+ / 0-)

    Since you are teaching history you know these struggles have gone on for a long time.  I show my music students scenes from Mozart's Don Giovanni, where the master mistreats the servant and gets away with murder because he is an aristocrat, and where divine justice is equal for the working class daughter.  

    •  technially NOT teaching history (0+ / 0-)

      I am teaching government. But of course I have to place what happens in the stages of developing of government - including as it is changed by amendments, interpretations, and statutes - in the context of the history of the time, much of which my students either do not know or do not completely understand.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:43:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Critical thinking (4+ / 0-)

    This is why it is important to teach critical thinking.  I give college students a handout of the sntiSemitic writings by the composer Wagner with a demonstration of all of the faulty logic of his racism.  I give the students logical tools to challenge racism.

  •  elementary school (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, CuriousBoston

    was my favorite. all six years were thrilling. my family was engaged, my teachers were pretty good, it was learn, learn, learn, work, work, work, grow, grow, grow.

    i was white.

    learning more every day about what a bubble i was living in:

    learning more every day about overcoming hate:

    The Addington perpwalk is the trailhead for accountability in this wound on our national psyche. [...you know: Dick Cheney's "top" lawyer.] --Sachem

    by greenbird on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:36:58 AM PDT

  •  Teacherken, I respect you, but... (3+ / 0-)

    this diary tells me you need to stop watching politics for a couple of days.  The Jews at Masada?  Honestly, that is a real bit of hyperbole there.  This diary echoes the warning from Stewart:  it bemoans the terrible end times of it all.  

    The case you decry tests more the issue of who has standing and can bring a case or controversy under Article III, and is not about eroding the separation of church and state.

    I like this site a lot, but people absolutely do not get it right when it comes to the discussion of legal issues.  They do not get it right.  

    This is another example.  

    Honestly, I don't mind people punching the dirty effing trial attorneys at DOJ when they deserve it, but there has been a ton of information dispersed at this site that has been, excuse me, absolute poo poo factually and legally when it comes to legal analysis.

    "This is harder than it looks." -- Van Jones

    by LarsThorwald on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:38:38 AM PDT

    •  What is your take on waterboarding? (6+ / 0-)

      You choose to object to what appears to be a threat to separation of church and state but make no mention of the approving of torture or the  denial of habeas corpus,or the defining a corporation as having legal personhood with the right to unrestricted spending in elections so where do you stand on these?

    •  I am certainly not a legal scholar and i don't (0+ / 0-)

      have the time to research the ins and outs of this specific challenge to to a specific provision of a specific rule or law.

      However, I was and still am under the impression that when cases are brought to the Supreme Court, especially by the government, it is basically to TEST the validity, or as the above commenter put it, the standing, of those who are entitled under law to challenge a ruling.

      I was also under the impression that THIS was the absolute strength of the American legal system and basically proves that the average citizen can challenge the dictates of his peers or superiors.

      So, I would hope, that if you are to continue to  teach the students about the way the government works and what rights they have you would remove do so as though you were challenging a Supreme Court ruling and maybe role play it, allowing you students to play all the roles and argue all the sides as hopefully they are doing in this case before the Supremo.
      One thing that is seriously lacking, at least in this site is any indication, is the American public's ability to argue or even comprehend a complex case from all sides.

      we immediately go to the good/bad, right/wrong, win/lose aspects of black/white, true/false in a world of gray aspects of our public discourse.

      So, yes, take a break, take a sabbatical, run for office,  do something else, I honestly can't sat I would want you teaching my kids in this frame on mind.  In my book a teacher's main responsibility is to teach his/her students to THINK!!!!!

    •  How about the 100,000+ innocent civilians (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, adrianrf

      that were killed in Iraq because of our invasion based on lies (a conspiracy reality that is more absurd than most conspiracy theories that are routinely derogated here).  Doesn't that gnaw at you?  Can you just have a beer and say too bad?  Maybe make a clever sign and enjoy a nice autumn day?

  •  quite frankly, teacherken, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lotlizard, hlsmlane, adrianrf, Oh Mary Oh

    the answer seems to be that we are getting old. The repeated reply to your fears seems to be that we now have computers ("technology", as the metonym goes, I believe, but which really misrepresents the facts) and we are in "a different world". Our old ideas are "idealistic", and not in touch with contemporary "reality". In a word, we are "quaint". Sorry.

    I was thinking yesterday about what happened with the introduction of the telephone. Throughout the 20th century, the legal system never moved to make telephone calls a recognized form of legal notice or contact. "Telephoning does not preserve your rights" was in the fine print on everything. Not now. They want all of us except for the very richest reduced to electronic records...waiting to be deleted.

    What can you teach? I am left with the same question. And the answer I keep getting has two faces. First, history matters. It is possible to identify with the people who lived before this week. They had similar problems and they found solutions. Second, work, invested for one's own purposes (not necessarily the purposes of others), yields results.

    Other than that, I don't know.

    Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
    Mark Twain

    by phaktor on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:51:26 AM PDT

  •  Existentialism (6+ / 0-)

    The TRUE moral quality of a person is determined by what one DOES, not by what one says or professes.

    The actions of President Obama, and most of Congress, Republican and Democrat speak for themselves.

    On days like today, Senators Sanders and Franken, and a few others seem like lonely Diogenes holding their lanterns looking for honesty among the shrinking minority who bother to care about such matters.

    I've been beating my drum on these pages for the last couple of years, and I'll do it again.  If we don't stand up for the truth, the good, political empathy, and simple honesty damned soon we will inevitably become a fascist one-party state -- sooner than you think possible.  The German liberal republic after WWI, facing chronic unemployment slid into Nazi-ism in a single decade.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 06:52:17 AM PDT

  •  It is indeed a bit hypocritcal to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, phaktor

    have our President continue some of the worst egresses of the Bush administration.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:01:42 AM PDT

    •  I think at the least (7+ / 0-)

      he owes us an explanation. What was that "change" thing all about? Why did he let all of us think we were switching administrations, and collect our votes on that account, with no intention of doing so?

      Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
      Mark Twain

      by phaktor on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:10:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The absolute minimum that I expected (0+ / 0-)

      out of Obama was a Justice Department that rejected all things Bush.  Such a low bar for a POTUS and one on which to date he has been a miserable failure.

      "Dulled conscience, irresponsibility, and ruthless self-interest already reappear. Such symptoms of prosperity may become portents of disaster!" FDR - 1937

      by Marie on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:47:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  {{{teacherken}}} - I'm 59 (6+ / 0-)

    I remember most of the same stuff you do.  And I keep going for some of the same reasons, I guess.  I don't teach any longer but I'm an elected official at the county level - on a 6D-7R, soon to be 5D-8R Quorum Court.  If I had not run, it would have been 4D-9R and it only takes 9 votes to pass the County budget.  I'm tired and the next two years are only going to make me tireder.  I weep for the dream that was America - never reality but at least for most of my life a goal.  But I have children and grandchildren - and no real reason to live if I give up.  (My single-parent momma used to say she'd have given up long ago but she didn't know where the giving up window was.  I guess I don't either.)  So we go with Joe Biden's daddy's rule - "Get up, Champ.  Just get up."  Winning really is getting up one more time than we get knocked down.  Bless you for continuing to get up.

  •  My partner is a teacher (5+ / 0-)

    She teaches "ethics and service learning" at a pretty good college. That is, she tries to help freshmen apply the principles of Aristotle, Kant, John Stuart Mill and others to what they experience in the world of nonprofit service and advocacy.

    She has to deal every day with entitled little twits who've been told they are smart and important and don't see why they should either help others or learn to think beyond their limited social circles. On the other hand she also gets to deal every day with exciting, inspiring young people who lap up the chance to reflect on the meaning of their lives and look to understand the world they are inheriting.

    We all have to be grateful to teachers who try to help young folks grow into citizens and thinkers.

    Keep teaching, Ken.

  •  Ken--I am absolutely howling in frustration (7+ / 0-)

    and fear and indignation about this.  I am not a teacher, I have not lived through the events in history you--and many other amazing activists on kos--have.  I am a middle aged suburban housewife who hasn't even finished her BA.  I may not be able to cite law or state historical facts with icredible accuracy and instantaneous recall that so many brilliant diarists on this blog can, but I can witness and remember.  
    I believe it is our civic duty to America, to our children, and to the world to prosecute the Bush/Cheney admin. and Tony Blair and all others who are guilty of war crimes, but in light of this administrations decisions to take that off of the table and to extend the Patriot Act, etc. I believe we are going to have to do this through acts of civil disobedience.  And before anyone scolds me, understand very clearly that I am not suggesting violence--nor would I ever.  I am telling you that we need to have a million people in the street with signs and bullhorns demanding one thing--"Prosecute Bush/Cheney For War Crimes".
    war is a crime
    Vincent Bugliosi 'Prosecute Bush'
    Also, corporations are not people.  Period.  We must act now, not 3 months before an election when everyone is saying "now is not the time!", but right now to stop corporations from influencing our elections.
    Fair Elections Now Act
    I'm sure some of you disagree with me, and that's OK.  I'm know that I am only a rube from the burbs with no power whatsoever.  But my indignation and ability to recognise who the real criminals are is all I have, so I say this:

    I SEE YOU.  I know exactly what you are doing.  I bear witness to your offences.

    I fought for the middle class when no one was watching, because that's who I am and where I come from. It's what I'll always do. ~Virg Bernero

    by surelyujest on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:23:49 AM PDT

    •  Witness and remembering are very (3+ / 0-)

      important. Jews in death camps smuggled diaries. Some even wrote on their bodies. There is a group taping interviews of WWII veterans, another group taping older people. I believe one group in from the Smithsonain.

      Like i-g-n-t, we must never forget, we must witness, act, and teach children.

      Civil disobedience is needed in the USA, from the suffragettes to the 60's, and now.

  •  I'll encourage you to continue as you are... (5+ / 0-)

    You are doing great things in your classroom.

    -5.12, -5.23

    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

    by ER Doc on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 07:28:43 AM PDT

  •  It is an interesting time (3+ / 0-)

    For a while the rethugs used or were used by culture warriors and they were joined by business interests and libertarians (yes Rand & Ron Paul).  

    It was an odd coalition but it was firmly welded together by Reagan and his allies.  Reagan had no problems with any dissonance, possibly because he was an actor and possibly because he was already in the onset of Alzheimer disease. He meddled with Iran (remember Iran/countra affair?) and with South American dictators.  I suspect the oil barons were ensconced in the Lincoln bedroom for a great deal of his presidency.  

    They started us on this pseudo biblical foray and the "government is the problem" crap that started all the dismantling of not just programs they hated, like the war on poverty, but the limits on business like regulations.  So we had the S&L crisis, the energy crisis, the mortgage crisis, the dot.com bubble bursting in air and patches and bandaids and monkey wrenches and glue were thrown into the mix.

    Now we are watching the "tbaggers" and how they are used by the business part of the coalition.  They think they are the power and the energy behind the latest election.  But they are dupes, albeit willing dupes, in return for their 15 minutes of fame.  It was much more obvious this time around because we actually had some reporting on the money trails.  But we were the only ones who were paying attention.  The tbaggers don't want to know and they don't care about the price they are paying because they are scratching that lovely itch of hate.  And they do hate: liberals, blacks, gays, Hispanics, anybody who has a degree and anybody who dares disagree with them.

    We, the liberals, are firmly in their cross hairs.  We are just as endangered in this moment as the 6 million jews were in Germany.  That is how bad the climate is at this moment.  If the SCOTUS can overturn laws that limit businesses pushing money into campaigns, you know they will not stop.  They probably were just emboldened after selecting Bush in 2000 and they are looking for selected bits because the majority of judges are bought and paid for by that coalition.

    •  The six million.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, glitterscale, CuriousBoston

      ...found it hard to believe that the hatred expressed by the Nazis would ever lead to anything truly dangerous.

      Meanwhile we've got Michelle Bachman suggesting "loyalty" investigations and right wing pundits ginning up hatred all the live-long day.  Heads up folks, if you're not one of THEM, you're not a REAL American.

      Yikes!

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:27:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You teach Howard Zinn's American History (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Blair, Rich in PA

    or your own AND you willingly accept that writing/teaching history is political.  

    If you think you're being neutral or objective, you're just deceiving yourselves.  And if you teach that you're objective or neutral, you're likely deceiving them also.

  •  The liars win (4+ / 0-)

    if you stop teaching, Ken. I hope you take some solace in the fact that you are teaching quite a few more of us when you post your diaries.

    I'm 60 and it depresses me to see the fundamental values embodied in the Constitution twisted, abused and eroded beyond recognition by decriers of judicial activism. Hypocrites abound.

    I am not particularly optimistic about stemming the tide of fascism that is rising about us but find refuge in your determination and resolve to teach on, and hold to the dream.

  •  As a law school grad, my high school history (5+ / 0-)

    teacher instilled in me my respect for liberalism in this country and the ideas of what American freedom means to me.  He did it not through preaching, but by teaching the facts of American history, not just the wars and the victories but the crimes against humanity, the struggles of the poor and minorities, and the economic stagnation prior to the New Deal.

    In law school, I was certainly able to build on those lessons, revisit them in more detail.  But I certainly wasn't going to find a consensus supporting them.  Law School was too well permeated with federalist society members and future big firm partners of America who were ready and willing to sell out to the most powerful moneyed interests for a share of the crumbs.  

    I'm grateful that my history teacher was as thorough, as passionate, and as dedicated as he was, because it's those early lessons that stick with you the rest of your life.

  •  Got better plans for the next two years? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    antirove, fizziks, codairem, dotalbon
    Pretty soon the Republicans in congress are going to start a series of capricious investigations into the Obama administration.  If Obama were to start prosecuting members of the Bush administration for war crimes etc., it would suck all the oxygen out of the room.  News coverage would be about Bush, Cheney, etc being handed over to the world court.  It's not like Obama can get anything else done for the next two years anyway.

    Obama has tried to be magnanimous about the prosecustions.  Are Republicans goint to show any gratitude, or will they continue to be as vindictive as possible?  Is that even a question?

    •   Issa thinks he has a target-rich environment (0+ / 0-)

      when he looks at the environment.  His problem seems to be deciding whom in the White House he will go after.

      From what I hear they will go offer the Sestak "job offer" fairly early.  They also seem to want to go after Geithner.  And expect them to revisit Rahm Emmanuel and Rod Blagojevich.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:47:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sad (3+ / 0-)

    the current administration refuses to even investigate the wrongdoings of the administration before it, thereby in the case of Mr. Bush perhaps demonstrating that Richard Nixon's assertion to David Frost that if the president does it, it is not against the law is now true.

  •  Not to pile on too much... Human Rights (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    http://www.sfgate.com/...

    We are continually in a state of flux. Growth is inevitable, but, we get to choose the direction. It helps when we grow toward the light.

    The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

    by MeToo on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:48:39 AM PDT

  •  Easy. (3+ / 0-)

    Why then am I still teaching?  What the hell am I teaching?

    You teach: American Mythology 101

    I know that seems harsh.  But for a student of mythology such as myself, watching the USA these last few years has been enlightening.  Myths are not relics of our ancient past that are handed down to us untouched; they are alive, changing with every generation.  Now with the Interweb tubes, we can watch this process in real time, identify the parties participating, deduce their motivations and admire (if so inclined) their methodology.  Case in point: America was founded as a Christian nation!!!!  

    This comment was brought to you by Goldman-Sachs: Our clients' interests always come first.

    by Kingsmeg on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 08:51:05 AM PDT

  •  Respecting the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    If we held a federal convention on authority of the Constitution, the process would return our country to the rule of law.

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    •  No, we'd get a new crackpot Constitution. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heart of the Rockies, aliasalias

      That's like using an H-bomb to block a clog in your toilet.

      The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

      by Rich in PA on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:30:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yep, 24/7 coverage on Faux, CNN, MSNBC etc. (0+ / 0-)

      brought to you by Shell Oil, with big advertising during the coverage by every major industry while the backdoor money flows and the breaking news of a breakthrough compromise on whether or not there should be taxes on anyone (Corps. being someone) with an income over $250k.
      In this day and age it would be a disaster that the Country might not survive.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:04:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Voting on Tuesday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, 3goldens
    meant using the mass transit- and standing waiting for the broken-down trains and late buses in cold pouring rain.  I had to keep reminding myself that many people gave their lives for me to have the right to vote.  And as a teacher I must set a good example, and fulfill my civic responsibility. I voted.
    An hour and a half journey on foot, to travel six miles to the polls, in the rain, I voted...when I got there, there was very little on the ballot I cared about.  I voted Democrats and Libertarians, and went home believing I hadn't made a blessed bit of difference.
    Michael Moore said last night on LOD's show that the progressives need to put the Democrats in power on notice -that if they don't get done what we sent them there to do in the next two years, that we are done with them. No money. Nothing.  It was the first sensible thing I had heard in days.
    I am glad I don't teach social studies, it is just too depressing.
  •  Teach the truth - laws are only for the peons. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobdevo, The Dead Man

    And America is much to cowardly a country to hold its leaders accountable for felonies.

  •  We can't just assume we're a majority (0+ / 0-)

    Unless and until more people vote in progressive Democrats than (a) Republicans and (b) un-progressive Democrats, we don't have much right to grouse about not getting progressive outcomes.  I can't be more explicit about my belief that we live in a democracy and it's working even though we don't get the outcomes we want.  We don't get the outcomes we want because we don't elect enough people who want those same outcomes, period.

    The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

    by Rich in PA on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:30:20 AM PDT

  •  I applaud what you are doing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, 3goldens

    I have been back in college for the past few years, and it's astounding how many young students not only don't think torture is a law that should be enforced, but also see nothing morally wrong with it. Scares the heck out of me. It's pretty clear that not only are they influenced by the actions of the federal government, but that their own primary school teachers were not teaching them it is wrong.

    On the other hand, when I was going to elementary and high school (I graduated in '95), all my teachers who taught history and civics told me that it was illegal and just plain wrong. That made a huge impact on me.

    You likely know that there is a theory in political science that suggests that not only do beliefs and morals spread from the public up to the president, but that they also go from the top down. What happened in Nazi Germany is a perfect example of it going from the top down, and so is state-sanctioned torture. This is why I think any teacher who still stands up today and teaches students that torture is illegal and wrong is a hero, and I do not use that term lightly.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:38:20 AM PDT

    •  Something wrong with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moviemeister76

      their parents, too.  And maybe what their peers consider entertainment.

      •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heart of the Rockies

        When I was growing up, absolutely everyone around me agreed that torture is wrong. It never even occurred to me to think otherwise.

        I think that the fact it has become a politicized issue has made things even more murky.

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 10:32:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cheating in school was wrong, too, (0+ / 0-)

          even though it happened.  Now it is rampant and socially acceptable among many students.  Respect for teachers was also expected, even though we knew some of them had not earned it.  Volunteerism in the community was another value that was pounded into us and widely practiced.  Entertainment is not one of the biggest industries, if not the biggest, in this country.  We were raised to use our free time for something more productive and personally or socially useful, even if it was a hobby like stamp collecting, knitting, gardening or wood working.

          Yes, I know there were lots of problems with the "good old days," but the general approach to our communities, to how we conduct our lives, our personal goals (goods not the good) and treat others has definitely changed.

  •  Not expelling the poison of the Bush years has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, dotalbon

    infected the Obama team, which is now guilty of condoning, even collaborating with and amplifying  Bush's war crimes.

  •  Perhaps it is time for you to leave teaching and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leema, amyzex, dotalbon

    do what you seem more concerned about; activism. Sorry to be blunt but there it is.

    •  my teaching more important than activism (0+ / 0-)

      I directly impact almost 2 hundred young minds each day.  They talk - to parents, to other students, to the parents of other students.

      I challenge their thinking.

      I ask them to think of consequences both of actions and inactions, of the impact of words and of silence.

      Years ago I wrote a diary here that teaching is my essential political act.  I still believe that.

      As I told my students today, if I felt I could no longer teach, then I am not sure I would have a purpose for living.

      I also told them that I am stubborn, so they will have to decide whether it is good news or bad news, but they are for now and for the foreseeable future stuck with me.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 05:50:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  teacherken, thank you for your courage. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, dotalbon

    "But I will continue to do what I can do, as long as I have voice, as long as I have breath."

  •  Let us not mourn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dotalbon

    Step back and breathe and renew...and organize.  The wannabe fascists will not prevail.

  •  You plant seeds (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies

    which may not grow in your lifetime.  

    That's always been the burden of teaching.  And the joy.

    Keep gardening, teacherken. If you don't, someone less qualified (and liberal) will.  

    I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones. (John Cage)

    by dotalbon on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:26:47 AM PDT

  •  Teach 'em about the Reichstag fire and how (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies, dotalbon, rossl

    … such events can be used to shape public perceptions in a way that changes history dramatically.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

    by lotlizard on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 11:28:47 AM PDT

  •  Teacher ken, you are sowing seeds of wisdom... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heart of the Rockies

    ...that may not fully grow for years.  During those years there will be setbacks and there may even be a few victories.  

    All that anyone can do during hard times is to keep plugging along, doing the right thing as best we can.  

    I don't know what I'd do in your situation, but I know you will make the right decisions.

  •  I was seriously considering emigration (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    until I read your piece just now.  Thank you for the reminder.  God bless you.

    When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

    by amyzex on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 12:34:20 PM PDT

  •  Thank God your teaching (0+ / 0-)

    our children and I hope there are many more out there like you teacherken. I was required to take civic's in high school. My teacher was an ex Marine and he warned us about what happens when the rule of law is left to politicians. He handed out lists of the dirty tricks that pols throughout our history have used to twist the laws for their own ends. Civics and education about our sacred documents are key to retaining our democracy.      

  •  It became necessary to destroy the Constitution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Misterpuff

    in order to save the Constitution.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 02:45:43 PM PDT

  •  Three things - first, thank you (0+ / 0-)

    You're a good person, and a thoughtful one.

    Second, I have a book suggestion that will make you lose even more faith in the rule of law.  Doesn't sound appealing, but it's the truth.  It's an in-depth review of some events on Indian reservations in the '70s and what's happened since then.  It's really incredible - "The Unquiet Grave" by Steve Hendricks.  It's one of those books that will change the way you view the world.

    Third, personally, I think you should stop working for that party.  I can't tell you how you should teach, but I do think that it's futile and counterproductive to continue supporting Democrats at this point.

  •  Ken, there is a simple lesson here: (0+ / 0-)

    Our democracy works fine and you get what you vote for, just be careful what you vote for.  And if you don't vote, someone else will decide in your stead, and they won't be thinking about you.

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