Posts tagged Propaganda

Monday Lazy Linking

The purpose of government schools is to train your children to love the government.

And if you don’t like the training that the government is giving them, you can go to prison.

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.

… The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.

… The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.

California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children, Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.

Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.

A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare, the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

— Bob Egelko and Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle (2008-03-07): Homeschoolers’ setback sends shock waves through state

I suspect that if I knew the people involved in this case, I would have no particular sympathy for Philip Long, who came under the court’s scrutiny in the first place because one of his own children filed a complaint for child abuse and neglect.

If that individual child wants out of the Longs’ homeschooling, or for that matter wants out of the Longs’ home entirely, she or he should be able to get out, without any danger of being locked up, forcibly returned under the state’s Fugitive Child Laws, or getting beaten up by angry adults. Currently, children in the state of California don’t have that freedom. But the right way to address whatever abuse or neglect there may be in the Long family is precisely to recognize and respect that freedom for each individual child, rather than by forcing the parents to place all their children, regardless of what those individual children may want, under the surveillance, supervision, and power of even more adults — government-approved teachers, social workers, and other professional busybodies — with nothing better to recommend them than political connections and a sanctimonious sense of entitlement.

And the solution is certainly not to issue a general ruling claiming that the government has any business at all making sure that all children are indoctrinated to the fullest extent of the law in the government’s own ideas of patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation. Using the threat of fines and prison in order to force all parents and all children, no matter what their family situation, to participate in a system of government-approved institutionalized schooling, explicitly for the propaganda purpose of training school children to love and serve the existing régime, is a case study in the most vile sort of authoritarian government.

(Via Dan Clore @ LeftLibertarian 2.)

Further reading:

Our boys in uniform

Perhaps it makes me an anti-American scumbag to point this out, but I don’t especially support these efforts by lying creeps and transphobic adolescent Internet trolls in uniform to protect my freedom:

US military personnel at Guantanamo Bay called Fidel Castro a transsexual and defended the prison for terrorism suspects in anonymous web postings, an internet group that publishes government documents said today.

The group, Wikileaks, tracked web activity by service members with Guantanamo email addresses and also found they deleted prisoner identification numbers from three detainee profiles on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that allows anyone to change articles.

Julian Assange, who led the research effort, said the postings amount to propaganda and deception.

This is the American government speaking to the American people and to the world through Wikipedia, not identifying itself and often speaking about itself in the third person, Assange said in a telephone interview from Paris.

Army Lt Col Ed Bush, a Guantanamo spokesman, said there is no official attempt to alter information posted elsewhere but said the military seeks to correct what it believes is incorrect or outdated information about the prison.

Bush declined to answer questions about the Castro posting.

Assange said that in January 2006, someone at Guantanamo wrote in a Wikipedia profile of the Cuban president: Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual, the unknown writer said, misspelling the word transsexual.

The US has no formal relations with Cuba and has maintained its base in the south-east of the island over the objections of the Castro government.

Comments on news stories were posted by people using apparently fictitious names to news sites—and were prepared by the Guantanamo public affairs office, according to Wikileaks.

A comment on a Wired magazine story about a leaked Guantanamo operations manual that was recently posted on the Wikileaks website urged readers to learn about Guantanamo by going to the public affairs website, adding that the base is a very professional place full of true American patriots.

— The Age (2007-12-16): Gitmo troops vandalise Wikipedia

(Via Dan Clore (2007-12-13) on LeftLibertarian2.)

Beltway Baiting

Hey, you Beltway liberal types? Look, I’m bored silly by obsessively tracking every little move in the gladiatorial arena of DC, and I even think it’s destructive of serious politics. But I was with you on this whole weird Jeff Gannon / James Guckert story. Republican red herrings to one side, there was a real story here. The story was about how Gannon—a man who had no journalistic qualifications whatsoever and who engaged in some pretty transparent deceptions to try to cover over his life as a gay prostitute—was nevertheless clearly maneuvered, through immense administration favoritism, into the inner circle of the White House Press Corps, because he served as a useful administration-designated plant in the audience at press briefings. The story wasn’t about prostitution, much less homosexuality; it was about yet another glaring example of the Bush Administration’s willingness to institute the mechanisms of an overt propaganda machine—including using tax resources to exert control over the press corps through pay-offs and privileges to useful reporters and commentators. Or, here, creating a useful reporter out of thin air.

That’s an interesting (and depressing) story about the shamelessness of this administration. That’s why I was willing to get your back on it. But, hey, folks? This?

(Update: The reward is now $20k as of 03-02-05)

Have you seen this man?

A wealthy Washington socialite is offering a $10,000 reward for proof that Jeff Gannon (pictured), an allegedly gay kinky-sex prostitute / escort / white house reporter / GOP operative, has had any type of sexual, or romantic, relationship with any top-ranking Washington official(s) — or proof that he engaged in any illegal sexual activities or favors.

A local socialite, who wishes to remain anonymous, has teamed up with this site to offer a $10,000 reward to anyone that can provide hard proof.

We are looking for evidence (photos, phone pictures, locks of hair, DNA on a suit) that Jeff Gannon had any type of sexual, or romantic, relationship with any top-ranking Washington official(s) — or proof that he engaged in any illegal sexual activities or favors.

— Reward: Jeff Gannon information. Washington Socialites 2005-02-23

This is not an interesting story. This is gay-baiting. You are trying to dig up dirt on prominent officials’ sexuality and you are aiming to out them against their will—in order to destroy their political careers. That’s fucked up.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t object to destroying some dumb jerk’s political career. If I had my way, everybody’s political career would be destroyed. What I do object to—and what any one who claims to take homophobia seriously as a social problem should object to—is the fact that the tactic being used for destruction here is to out men who’ve been having sex with men before they are ready to come out, and the reason for outing them is to pander to the homophobia of hard Right voters. If that homophobia didn’t exist, and if the homophobes weren’t willing to ruin people’s lives over the gender of their sex partner(s), the plan wouldn’t work. But it does, and they are, and you’re willing to make use of it to try to score political points. That’s fucked up.

You might claim that the issue here is prostitution, not gay prostitution specifically. Horsepucky. It’s an open secret that powerful men, including some powerful Republican officials, have made a habit of patronizing women in prostitution. But there isn’t a bounty out for information on proof that some Administration official somewhere paid for heterosexual sex, is there? And you’re not musing on your blogs about it, are you? That’s because you’re not concerned about any of the ethical questions involved in the many different kinds of prostitution in the world; you’re concerned about political leverage, and you’re more likely to score a clean kill if you can out someone as gay. And that’s fucked up.

Get your heads out of the Beltway. Just stop it.