Thursday, September 25, 2014

Repainted History: With a Happy Face

Not too long ago, I blogged about the Koch Brothers using their money to provide right wing dogma-driven curriculum to cash strapped schools.

The proposed curriculum would “promote patriotic material, respect for authority, and the free-market system,” the Denver Post reports. “In turn, the panel would avoid material about ‘civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.’ (
So I guess the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement and the plight of Native Americans would get short changed, regardless of their importance to the history of our country.

What would they get instead I wonder? The beauty and clearly moral purpose of manifest destiny?  The greatness of the robber barons of old?  The brilliance of George Bush and Ronald Reagan in dealing with 9/11 and the Communist Bloc?

If anything gives me hope, it is reports that students walked out of class in protest of the proposal.  According to the Associated Press, "[h]undreds of students walked out of classrooms around suburban Denver on Tuesday in protest over a conservative-led school board proposal."

"I don't think my education should be censored. We should be able to know what happened in our past," said Tori Leu, a 17-year-old student who protested at Ralston Valley High School in Arvada.

Using political power to rewrite history in order to influence the opinions of future voters isn’t just wrong, it’s immoral.  In fact, it is exactly the kind of thing Stalin did all the time. And just because you are a rich conservative capitalist and not a Communist dictator doesn’t change that.

And if for no other reason that it is funny, let’s watch this clip from John Stewart showing just what conservative dogma/teaching leads to:


Thursday, September 18, 2014

UPDATE: Air Force Reverses Course

It would seem that the Air Force has seen the light and pulled an Immelman turn on forcing enlistees to say "So help me God" as part of their oath.  As I reported before, an Atheist airman who wanted to reenlist was being denied the opportunity to do so because he refused to use that phase in his oath.

From the Air Force statement on the change:
WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force has instructed force support offices across the service to allow both enlisted members and officers to omit the words “So help me God” from enlistment and officer appointment oaths if an Airman chooses.

In response to concerns raised by Airmen, the Department of the Air Force requested an opinion from the Department of Defense General Counsel addressing the legal parameters of the oath. The resulting opinion concluded that an individual may strike or omit the words “So help me God” from an enlistment or appointment oath if preferred.

“We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen's rights are protected.”
Since I called out the Air Force for denying airman the religious freedoms that they were swearing to protect, it is only right that I congratulate them on making this injustice right.

Click here to read the entire Air Force statement.

Here is my original post: Quick Hits: Now with Military Grade Irony

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quick Hits - Now with Military Grade Irony

You have got to be kidding me.  

An airman in the U.S. Air Force wants to re-enlist but the Air Force won't let him.  It isn't because he isn't a good soldier.  He didn't commit a crime. He hasn't done anything wrong, he just refuses to sign or say an oath containing the phrase "So help me God."

You see, he is an Atheist.  And up until October 30th of last year that was fine, you could omit that phrase.  But since that date, a change to Air Force Instruction 36-2606 demands that all enlistees swear the complete oath including the phrase "so help me God".

That same enlistee's oath also requires them to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;" and makes them promise to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same;".

Allow me to quote from that same Constitution the enlistees are swearing to protect, Article XI to be exact:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." [emphasis added]
Now, if an Atheist refusing to sign an oath including the phrase "So help me God" isn't bearing true faith and allegiance to the Constitution, then I don't know what is.

And what religious zealot made the change in the first place?  They do know that this is America and that freedom of religion includes freedom FROM religion, right?  I guess not.

Only in the military...