Three Years Old:Who Created Trump?

More from Posts to Diane Ravitch Blog

Posted on February 22, 201

Stephen Lafer

February 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Indeed, the NCLB miseducated are coming to me wanting to teach English and wanting to teach it as it was taught them, for test readiness and little else, as readers who read (some of the time) what is assigned to find the answers in text that they think the teacher cares to have them remember, as writers whose duty it is to please but not inform or convince. Not their fault. And, I am hearing, not the fault of the teachers who taught them to be so passive in their learning that even the most provocative ideas cannot penetrate the aura of boredom. Not their fault and, as I am hearing, not the fault of the teachers who are also bored! Paulo Freire says that oppression can only be lifted through the will and actions of the oppressed. I read that teachers are not at fault and that what teachers did under NCLB was the fault of others, of administrators (who would also say that they too were the victims and not perpetrators) to superintendents, to people who were influential in shaping government educational policy. So, really, no one was responsible for NCLB and what those of us who spoke against it had to take our for 10 years of resistance, our miss-teaching of teachers because we were not teaching them to teach to NCLB.


I got kicked around by my colleagues and our administrators for my attempts to teaching the teachers to be thoughtful and to grow to be able demonstrate the potency of English language arts skills by calling upon teachers to use these abilities themselves to resist beyond terrible mandates. Like too many of my colleagues, and the teachers with whom they were assigned to work in internships, my students wanted to fit in, get the praise, reap the rewards for passivity, for capitulation and avoid punishment for standing up for sane practice. While a good many teachers in service and those in the process of becoming teachers knew what they were doing was not what should be done, they did what they were told to do—and wanted me to tell them that it was okay to do because that is what good boys and girls do, they obey authority no matter how idiotic and harmful what they are asked to do is..


To let teachers off the hook, to say they were not responsible is to degrade the already degraded stature of the teacher. Whereas the teacher should be the model of good citizenship, it is necessary for the teacher to understand what constitutes good citizenship and good citizenship in a real democracy has nothing to do with passive acceptance of authority. It has much to do with advocacy and, for English teachers, this is particularly important because it is in the English class that students learn to fight the good fight with words, with the proper words, with effective strings of words that are of a mindfulness that NCLB seemed intent on undermining. One only has to look at the final reports on Reading First to see how anti-thoughtfulness, pro-banking (method) NCLB was. Any real patriot would have understood that NCLB methodologies and NCLB means of assessment were not for the purpose of helping people grow up to be thoughtful participants in their societal duty to play a role in moving the nation toward union more perfect, ever more able to bring every citizen a reasonably good quality of life.


It is true that teachers were mislead by many of those in a position to lead, people of stature in the world of American education who, for whatever reasons, bought into and sold with “research” the virtues of a virtue-less agenda. Indeed, it shouldn’t be difficult for a thoughtful person to see that NCLB, or the methodologies receiving approval under the NCLB regime, were not intended to inspire individuals to think for them selves, to think critically and voice the results of that critical thought for the purpose of aiding the decision making process through which, in truly democratic nations, the institutions of the society are given orders as to how to  operate. NCLB, tied as it was to the post 9-11 era of deceit shrouded in fear, was one part of a campaign to prove to people that they should not think for themselves because it was impossible for them to understand the nature of enemies lurking around every corner, and, too, to know that they were not able on their own to decide who their friends might be.  The successful student in the context of an NCLB authorized curriculum was one who listened to what others had to say, what those in authority had to say without ever questioning who those authorities were or what their motives might be.


NBLB was about softening up an already softened public, a public already tuned out to nature of the world, already susceptible to the lies of advertisers and politicians who employed the tools of the advertiser to sell deceitful policies.


The teachers? Even before 9-11, were, as individuals and as a profession, probably not as critical and critically diligent as they should have been to teach in and for the society that was  evolving before their eyes. Too many were using the texts provided them by school districts who bought from textbook publishers whose nature and prerogatives we rarely investigated, the force of  the Texas textbook censors making sure that the nation would suffer no information that the Gablers (look them up) and their friends (evangelicals, right wingers, etc.) did not want them to have. How many teachers had their students do research into the biographies of textbook authors and how many had their students investigate the process by which textbooks were chosen and whose “truths” it was that those books were telling?


Please, let us let no one off the hook for the way students have been untaught thoughtfulness. Let us do such so that we may begin where the new beginning needs to start, with the miss-education of those who teach by the schools in which they were taught. This would be a first step in de-schooling, a necessary process to remove the clouds that obscure the real goals of education that is humane, that is truly humanizing. What we need after we cop to the charges is to recharge ourselves, to find again our imaginations so that we can think beyond what we think to be the possible, what we have been told are the limits (“peace is not possible, there must always be those who are poor…”). We need to rethink the research, all of it in light of the fact that “research” served as the foundation for NCLB and many other rotten initiatives that took the light out of the educational process. We need new goals and goals of a truly humanistic type, goals that take into consideration the value of our individuality, of our potential as creative, innovative, thoughtful, and, yes, compassionate beings with the capacity to change the world and not simply live in a world manufactured for us by those who pretend to know who we should be and become. Truth be told, they don’t know shit about who I am or who you are.

And that is a very good thing, if you really think about it!

A sick proposition wrapped in goodness

First, I share this quote that Dennis Myers offered the other day:

Franklin Roosevelt/September 30 1934: I am not for a return of that definition of liberty under which for many years a free people were being gradually regimented into the service of a privileged few.

That said, I wish I had an audience that might go forth to insure that justice guides the decisions a public makes.  Here in Washoe County, Nevada there is a ballot measure that will raise the sales tax to finance renovation of public school buildings and the building of new schools to accommodate the expected rise in population that will accompany growth in the economy, particularly the arrival of technology companies like the Tesla/Panasonic battery plant that is to open soon.  Schools in the county are already overcrowded, some classrooms with almost forty students in them, a number that I know makes good instruction impossible.

The schools have, for a very long time, been overcrowded and many of the district’s buildings are badly in need of repair.  They have been this way, as I just said, for a very long time.  During that time, the recent and not so recent past, the business community, particularly through its Chamber of Commerce, have fought and fought extremely hard against almost every measure to increase the funding of schools and most legislative initiatives aimed at improving the condition of the schools.  And they have, too often, won.  That is a good part of the reason that schools are so badly funded in this state, the consequence being that Nevada is ranked last or next to last in quality of education in every assessment that considers school quality or states’ provision for the welfare of the young.

The rankings are almost always dismissed, the problem being with those providing the analyses or conditions cannot be remedied with infusion of funds.  But now, because the business community sees an opportunity for economic growth that is, to some degree, dependent on the attractiveness of the region for businesses that need the kind of employees who are concerned with such things as the quality of the schools, it is now concerned with such things as the quality of the schools and it is arguing that money is a prominent factor in bringing about the kind of improvements that are needed to add the ingredient of quality to the education young people receive.  More money, now, is a factor in providing good education, this a stance that the same people have consistently derided in order to convince the public to not support too costly school measures and to elect anti-tax candidates to the state legislature.  They have also, to tragic effect, been effective in their lobbying efforts to prevent their having to pay higher taxes.

Now the voters of Washoe County have before them a ballot initiative to “save our schools.”  This initiative is not only supported by the business community but sponsored by it!  But that community does not want to pay for they want and so, the initiative that is Measure 1 will use sales taxes to foot the bill not an income tax or a business tax, but the most regressive kind of tax, the sales tax.  Washoe County will, if the measure passes, have one of, if not the highest sales tax in the nation, this in a county with good numbers of people with modest to less than modest incomes because of the very business asking them to make conditions more attractive for those who can help bring about significant economic growth, more money to the region, higher profits for business folk.

The current measure is a most cynical one developed by some very cynical and very greedy people, those who benefit from the price of things rising, real estate, for example, and from increased numbers of people buying things that they will pay taxes on to help the business that pay them relatively little (this is a right to work state with the gambling industry a major economic and political force) by being forced to offer up a larger portion of their wages to cover the tax.

Few in the county are willing to oppose Measure 1 because they know the condition of the schools and the lacking in quality of educational programs in the region.  Saving the schools is something most sensible citizens will support and they should.  But in this case, voting to save the schools puts the burden of growing the economy disproportionately on the backs of those who are not going to be the direct beneficiaries of the schools being saved for there is in the Measure nothing that will pay for the “human resources” essential to improvement in the instruction that is offered.  Those who, proportionately, pay the largest share of the tax will likely get even less than they do now from the school system, for, as is tradition in this region and most others, those who already have get most of what is there to be gotten, the schools in wealthier areas being the best endowed schools with the best equipment and the best teachers, a good amount of the tax money going to the building and staffing of the new schools that, as tradition holds, will be built in the newer and wealthier subdivisions.

So a vote to save the schools–and again, who can argue against–will be payed for, disproportionally, because the tax chosen by our business leaders  is a regressive one, by those who will benefit least by it, people already here who have always carried the load, those who work for those who own, owners who have always been incredibly stingy in what they are willing to provide their workers in terms of wages and benefits.  The people will be voting against themselves, as they often do, to benefit those who have for so long taken so much from them.

Public education must be funded and it must be funded at rates considerably higher than what they are today.  Good teachers deserve a hell of a lot more than they are payed now and what they are payed now is so little because of those who now want to save the schools.  When the business incited economic crash of recent years hit, the hardest hit were people of the so called working class, amongst these teachers.  Business payed legislators were convinced to face the new economic reality by cutting the amount of money the state would pay for publicly funded programs, schools one of those programs, and good numbers of teachers lost their jobs, one reason why classrooms are so full as new revenues to fix the damage done by the crash have been slow to appear.  The teachers are still getting less than they did before the economic debacle, some are without the homes they once were just barely able to afford (and won’t be able to afford when housing prices rise with demand caused by economic growth) and all are harder pressed to make ends meet, sending their own kids to good colleges a profound economic hardship.

Nothing in Measure 1 affects the salaries of teachers-and others who work in public education and nothing in Measure 1 calls for the money going to improve the conditions for learning in the -except that they will, along with others, paying more out of pocket for the goods they buy– that currently exist and with growth in population, without funds for adequate staffing, the quality of education is likely to diminish even further.

We do need to save our schools.  No, we need to build school programs that educate students well enough so that they can understand the complexities of the world in which they live, well enough to understand what measures such as One really mean so that they can make decisions that are the right ones for insuring that they are able to live decent lives in a decently democratic country.  Those who are sponsoring Measure 1 are cynical people, the very people who have for years and years benefited from an undereducated population willing to work for little, people who have little sense of how to fight the essential battles they need to fight, who do not even know who their foes are and who are too often convinced by those who deprive them to vote against their own best interests.

What should the people do about Measure 1?  They should go after those who wrote and support it with a vengeance and demand that those in power, elected officials, do their bidding and not alone those who already have far more than they deserve, those who exploit the underpaid to pay themselves even more.  They should do what is necessary to get rid of the predators, of the businesses and business people who take more than they deserve and make it impossible for those who do deserve to get what is properly theirs.  Do not vote on the issue or vote yes if you have to while organizing to shed light on the reality that is the economic reality here and on those who have created the unfairness.  Scream loudly at them and do what is necessary to pass laws that will put them in the place they deserve to be, ones amongst us and not a few who are above us.

If the measure passes without there being illumination of the fraud and the fraudulent, the educational system that our “community leaders” have created will work again to work against the very people who the system is supposed to serve.  It is time to get real mean to expose the meanness of those who are really mean.









And Dumb Made Honorable: Rise of Evil

I haven’t written anything for the past two weeks because I didn’t really want to say aloud what was on my mind.  I have in my posts used the word stupid on several occasions and I always feel a twinge of remorse for stooping to what is regarded by most as name calling.  But this is a time in history when stupid has taken on importance in ways I don’t think it ever has before, this because stupid now, for a good many, signifies something good and righteous.  Indeed, there has always been dislike of intellectuals in this society and others that would approve of being labelled “western.”


And there have been those who have used their intellects to understand and often castigate those people who they think are stupid and/or ignorant.  I think this is a reasonable game, for those who have reason to believe they think more than others, engage in reason more rigorously, and work hard to stay informed to be scornful on those who do not do such things, especially those who try to influence others.  The scorn of the lazy minded is not about capacities necessarily, though native ability to think well is considered by some who consider themselves to be smart to be inherited, a genetic thing.


Those who do this believe this way excuse themselves from working on the project that is creating sensible societies of thoughtful citizens who have the capacity to make good decisions for self and the society.  This does mean that the teachers begin their work knowing that those they teach can grow more thoughtful and more reasonable through the education they provide.


There are teachers, though, who are not so smart as to be able to help others grow intellectually and these teachers usually teach to something basic and never profound.  They do not, for example, engage their students in conversation about what it means to be human and how human beings should act in the world to make the world more humane.  They do not help students to explore the kind of meanings that allow one to probe deeply into the truth of matters and, of course, discover what is not true and what might be lies.


The science they teach is textbook and this is all they can teach because they have not studied well the principles that make good scientific findings possible.  They teach the content of science and even the methods as content, the series of steps one has to take when doing science.  What it is about method that makes it particularly potent, what gives science its elegance, what makes science something that drives any thoughtful student of science crazy because of what it represents in terms of its genius, makes those who get to know it do back flips over the fact that human beings have invented such a remarkable tool for knowing how things in the universe work and what the effects of their operation are for moving forward into the future with the capacity to make things-yes—but perhaps more importantly, good decisions.


Such is true of good and effective—and good and effective is baseline—teachers and not only those who teach science.  For any teacher in any discipline the human being who is the teacher needs to know considerably more than the “basics,” the basics of the basics the kind of understanding that allows he or she to help explain those basics so that they are meaningful enough to students to know how to work with them, to use the basics to go ever deeper in the meanings they allow one develop and use.


Stupid and ignorant, for most human beings, despite what some, the current republican party candidate for the office of president believe, is learned and those who are made to believe that stupid and ignorant are what make one tough, make one truly American, deserve to be taught a lesson, many lessons because all that stupidity make one is vulnerable.  That vulnerability inevitably produces agony, understanding of a world that is against, not with them and for them and, therefore, worthy of understanding and a proper respect.  Indeed, that people like Donald Trump can convince numbers of people to believe that the only way to make things that are good happen for them is to undermine the possibility for others to grow smart enough to not be like them, stupid and ignorant.  Consider how resentful good numbers of people in the United States of those who are educated and consider how many are very much willing to take the word of others who interpret the world for them.  They are vulnerable because their stupidity and their ignorance allows others who have studied some, enough to sound like they know something, to be convincing.


The world is something of a mess.  The American society is not a society on track to fulfill the intelligent goals that come of foundational principles and the kind of outcomes they are intended to achieve, such things as real and meaningful equality, liberty of the kind that is related to liberation, the real kind integrally involved with the ability to think for one’s self.


Stupidity are being cultivated in our country and the evidence is everywhere around us, the kind of news people are willing to take as legitimate, the kind of movie and television programs they watch, the kind of candidates they nominate for office and the kind of people they are willing to have lead them.  It is evident in the kind of disrespect for education so prominent in the society and the real hatred too many feel toward those who are educated, of truly good intentions, and concerned with the welfare with the many as well as the few, a part of this concern for the health of the planet on which we live.


I am sick and tired of stupidity and ignorance.  I am pissed off, really pissed off not only because it is so prevalent but because it is honored and cherished, a requirement for membership in certain clubs that organize the stupid and ignorant so that they may be a powerful force in the shaping of the policies that affect all, that affect the quality of live people are able to enjoy, that affect the health of the planet and, thus, ever being who lives on it.  I am fucking sick, really sick, of having the lives of those for whom I love and care affected by madness disguised as the popular opinion.  I do not disrespect popular opinion if it is opinion that comes with thoughtfulness and proper amounts of study, the kind of study that makes one an informed person, the two in combination making for a person capable of making sensible, well informed decisions as a legitimate citizen of a democracy make legitimate by the strength of its people’s intelligence and their willingness to accept nothing less than good reason, informed reason as reason to decide what they decide.


We should be teaching one another to be smart, to think that smart is good and worthy of the work it takes to become smart and stay smart.  To this end, no one who is not an intellect, a student of the world, a person with understanding of the value of intellect, one who pushes for continued grow of intellect and knowledge should have a hand in preparing others for citizenship.  And too, those who do teach, who are capable of teaching, need to show, by example the goodness that comes of the work to be knowledgeable and reasonable.  Those who will not work to attain the information critical to good decision making, those who are unwilling to grow ever more reasonable, to participate honestly in the process of making the world a better place to live for all, these people should be harshly chastised for fucking up democracy and fucking over other people by supporting propositions based in bullshit, the kind of proposition that seem to be so much a part of Mr. Trump’s superior intellect.  He is a very dangerous fool because those hostile to others who engage in work of intelligently figuring out what is true and what is not, by him, powerful, not the first instance of such a force against sane democracy becoming influential, but the worst because of how he takes advantage of the ignorance created to make a path to power for idiots like him.

Dumb and Dumber

Let me offend you once again fellow educators!

The attached article by Timothy Egan tells me noting that I did not already know.  ( For the past 28 years as a bad teacher educator I have been teaching and talking and writing about the problem of thoughtlessness and ignorance and its consequences for a society that had the opportunity to become a truly democratic one.  It takes smart people to participate in the decision making process that is at the heart of a democracy.  And the problem has relatively little to do with the capacity of people, the whole of the general public, to be smart enough for democracy.


What it does have to do with are the institutions that teach people to be dumb, dumb enough to be taken in by bullshit, the bullshit that drives capitalism in its present form and the bullshit that one has to accept in order to be a good member of whatever church it is to which he or she belongs.  And too, the bullshit of nationalism (‘I love America but I couldn’t begin to tell you what it means to be an American of the kind the writers of Declaration of Independence were hoping would emerge to carry out the plan’), made bullshit when one does not know for what the nation should stand, for what it actually does stand at a given moment in time, and what a citizen of the nation is obligated to do when for what it stands has little to do with what it actually is.


At this point I need to say that I believe that it is really all education’s fault.  When the society turns away from intellectualism and follows those who celebrate the common dumbness (“I love the uneducated”) and scorn those who work hard to understand what is really going on in the world and what it means, those who pursue truth as a vocation or avocation, the only force in the society that can do much of anything to turn things around is the educational system.


Tragically, in the United States of America, the educational system does not serve the cause of helping the American public to be smart.  The reason for this is that it does not, has not for a long time, existed to serve the cause of informed citizenship.  It has, for a long time served religion better than the development of critical minds.  It has for a long time served the cause of blind nationalism, its curriculum scraped clean of truth in order to insure that the reason for wars and poverty and blight are never discussed honestly.  Honesty would turn up lies, yes, but worse, patterns of deceit that not only turn truth upside down, but the public upside down on its head via television, movies, and other forms of entertainment that provide the people with most of what they know.  And the schools do hardly anything at all to provide an antidote to the poison.


Poison!  A very strong word, I know, but it is poison that causes people to ignore what is real and accept what is not as real because whatever it is they are being served makes for fun and a soothing kind of ignorance that they have been led to believe is what the good life is really about.  Schools, colleges and universities included, help the process of intellectual decay and they do this because they need the money and the big money is in that hands of those who are the deceivers, those who benefit from an ignorant and not too thoughtful public.


I have said all this many times before and not many have listened.  I quit a university job because the university and the college in which I worked, a college of education consistently asked, demanded that I get along better with those who count, those in power, those who donate to make up for what the state does not contribute to the project of education.  I was to get along better with people who run the state, too, teach to their agenda and never use what my own studies led me to understand to be their illegitimate approach to education.


Even when their ridiculous tests of student achievement would come back showing that students weren’t learning what officials demanded students learn, the changes made to improve things were always for dumbing down and hardly ever for amping up, for making school the place where people go to grow their intellects, to become smart enough to understand what life in a democratic nation should offer them and how to go about doing what is necessary to make sure that the system operates in such a manner that all get what human beings need and deserve.


But students who wanted to argue that reality TV were not be criticized, nor those who spend a good part of their lives watching it.  If it was their desire to pay more attention to to football games than the news of the world, they had a right to choose such for themselves and, when the works of intellectual astute human beings were assigned to be read and students complained that the ideas were too hard for them to understand, I was expected to find was to accommodate their special needs.  I was expected to respect their opinions the words were stupid and boring as good excuses for not reading the stupid stuff and I was asked to find ways to make sure that my teaching was receptive to the realities of the modern day student.


I was teaching teachers, English teachers.  I wanted to teach my students how to teach others to become astute readers of the world.  I wanted them to grow as intellectuals, knowledgable people who could determine what should stand as good knowledge and what should be dismissed as bullshit.  I wanted them to know what it meant to know and how to go about coming to knowledge through a rigorous critical thinking process.  I wanted them to be able to teach for citizenship, for effective citizenship and Coke and Pokeman were winning out, understood to be the real things, the rest crap that a few in the society wanted others to believe had value when it really did not, that is, if one wanted to be successful.


Success defined by those who had made it in a society that had become crass and stupid but crass and stupid for a purpose, to serve an economy that thrived when people purchased things, not because they needed them or because they were truly good things to have, but because of the bullshit they were being fed by corporations and their merchandizers, the advertising agencies, the military and its bolsters, the schools and their owners, those same corporate entities that fed them reality TV, anti-intellectualism, authority in celebrity, and then Donald Trump.


My own example!  But consider it in relation to what Timothy has to say:





Honesty is hard to appreciate

I write sometimes to criticize Hillary Clinton and I do so because I want to get closer to the truth of things that matter, to honest appraisal of who the people who want to lead are.  This is intended as a counterweight to the tendency of some to render blind support to the candidates they wish to see elected, facets of these candidates’ histories intentionally ignored for fear that their people might be damaged by revelations.  Every time I hear a campaign spokesperson explaining away flawed judgement or bad action to shield a candidate from criticism, and every time I hear a supporter tell me that judgements and actions that are bad are irrelevant to who their candidate really is, my mind goes to a place where things spin angrily for the distortions of reality that those people want me to take for truth.


I do not at all like Donald Trump.  I do not want him to become president.  I find it hard to believe that he is a viable candidate.  I think it impossible that enough people would like him to get him nominated by a major political party in the United States of America.  I find most of what he says to have little truth value and I take offense at much for which he stands.  I never know if he really thinks what he says he thinks or if he knows what what he says he thinks means.  I do not trust him to know what is real and what effect on reality his proposals would have.  Taken at face value, what he says is often idiotic, nasty, and destructive, truly un-American if one considers American to be what is Constitutional.


I do twitch a good twitch when criticism of Hillary Clinton is made by those against her to score political points and, worse, to get Donald Trump elected.  But the worse problem occurs when there is some truth is what these people are saying and there is damage done when those coming to her defense use lies and half-truths to defend her.  When she speaks Bernie Sanders’ speak I am suspicious.  When she refuses to make public certain utterances made behind the closed doors of Wall Street Boardrooms, I am suspicious and when there are suspicions of acts unethical—Clinton foundations and State Department interminglings, for example—I am suspicious.  And when the spokespeople dismiss the charges that are spoken by opposition or made known in the press without offering plausible explanation for dismissal, I am suspicious.


I think that my suspicions are not all that relevant to the history about to be made.  I will keep myself informed and do what I can to get at the truth of matters no matter how badly the truth may upset me.  But I won’t allow what I know to be truth and lies now get in the way of my voting for the democratic candidate because bad as she may be—and there is much about her runs counter to my values—I prize fairness and have disdain for the unfair advantage; I prize honest dealings with the countries of the world and their people; I detest exploitation of another for one’s own gain; I believe that all should have access to the institutions that create knowledge and wisdom and that none should get more than another simply because he or she was born into a particular family or lived in a particular region or neighborhood; and I believe that those who cheat should have nothing until they have proven that they have changed their evil ways…


I think that the political system, yes, as it has come to be through an insidious kind of corruption that only money can buy, needs to be fixed and I cannot help but believe that Hillary and many other “liberals” have taken advantage of this undemocratic system to make their way to the top, their achievement reflected in whose company they are allowed to share—Hillary and Bill at Donald’s place!—and at what tables they are allowed to sit—Corporate boards such as Walmarts!!!—and wield power no ordinary can garner.


So, vote for Hillary friends, please do.  But know her past and hold her to her promises for a future and make sure she works to bring back democracy even if it means upsetting the asshole capitalists who have used their money to destroy what is best about America.

Guilt by Association? Of Course!

Worse? Of course even if it is the campaign manager and not the candidate.  Who one choses as colleagues, partners, friends, accomplices does say something about a person.  So, the ramifications of this story are many for it involves not only sleazy business dealings but business that affected the life of a nation and the lives of all the people who live there.  Guilt by association?  Absolutely.

Loyal to a Candidate? Loyal to the Truth?

Without a doubt in my mind I understand Donald Trump to be unfit for any public office.  One does not have to collect new evidence of this though Trump engages regularly in acts that support disqualification.  Simply put, he is not a very thoughtful person.  He cannot engage with complexity or detect nuisance.  What understanding of the world he does have he uses for nefarious purposes, his business dealing that are his claim to fame are not very helpful to the world beyond his own constricted world—his towers and his family, the family part probably a pretense anyway, for show to put some tenderness on mean spirit.  If he is in anyway representative of who we are as a nation, then we, as a nation, need to search deeply to find out how we got to be so rotten.


I will vote against him and that will be the nature of my vote, a vote against and not for a candidate.  The only competition this time around is only good because she is better and not because she is really good, at least in terms of being the kind of person who I can have confidence in to do what is right and necessary to make things better in a country where democracy has been co-opted by an economy that allows a very few to accumulate very much and then use it to buy off the political system that should be the people’s.


The election began with hope, not the Obama kind of hope that was hope for stability rather than change, stability that would keep in place the rules that have allowed predatory capitalism to have its way with a public too often too ill-informed to understand what is happening and why what is happening to members is happening.  That people have not gotten any smarter since the current president took office, that the schools that should prepare a people for self-governance, the essence of a viable democracy, have not improved—have gotten worse in ever so many ways—signifies continued rot.  The current best candidate, though supported by some of my favorite educators, some of my favorite people in government and the agencies that do serve the people—Planned Parenthood and the NAACP, for example—are advocates for Ms. Clinton.  I am too, because she is the best available now, but I with a great amount of trepidation; too many others with too much glee, too much because she is as much a part of the problem as she is of the cure.


I do not want to repeat what has already been said (but not so well heard) about telling dealings and relationships that put Ms. Clinton too close to the very people and institutions that are destroying democracy to favor the desires of plutocrats.  She has even been known to be on friendly terms with her asshole of an opponent and an ally of the Walmart family (I believe she served on that company’s board of directors).  And most know about those speeches to the wealthy and their corporations that earned her more money in an hour than the average teacher can earn four years.


But what is really troubling to me something other than what Hillary Clinton does and what she says and how what she says reflects what she actually does.  It is how libel so many of those who identify as liberals and progressive are willing to ignore that bad stuff that does make Hillary Clinton look bad because there is a good possibility that she had done bad, acted in ways that I would think would be heavily criticized by true liberals and real progressives.


An example of the behavior was the subject of a recent Democracy Now segment, a link to the piece provided below.  I know that liberals and progressives do not—for good reason—subscribe often to the way the Wall Street Journal tells it.  But there is good reason, I think, to believe that Wall Street Journal writers sometimes do damned good research and use it to make points that deserve to be given consideration.  The author interviewed has won the Pulitzer Prize and, as the interview shows, he is a knowledgeable and thoughtful person.  His reporting is worth the attention of those trying to get to the truth of matters and to ignore what he reports out of loyalty to a particular candidate for office because what he has to say places her in a negative light would mark disloyalty to the truth.