An Important Petition from Iris

Iris at Death to Squirrels has a post up regarding the cruel treatment and unjust imprisonment of a young bi-racial girl with mental health problems. It’s an ugly story about a family looking for help and finding horror instead. It’s not only an indictment of the American mental health system but another urgent example of why Black Lives Matter really does matter. The more I read, the angrier I became, and I encourage you all to go read the story and get angry, too. Then, go sign the petition. I did, but I’m not an American, and the petition needs American voices – lots of them. At the very least, it will let this family know that they are not alone, but maybe collectively, we can get this child the help she desperately needs and offer her a future. Thanks.

Teacher’s Corner: Homeschooling

Content note: Child abuse

Homeschooling is generally illegal in Germany and the longer Corona goes on, the clearer those reasons become.

A)For one thing, not all homes have the same resources. Right now you notice a stark difference in what schools can do with remote teaching. Some schools, mostly “Gymnasien” which are the elite schools in the horribly stratified German school system with a generally well off clientele are doing some fantastic things with Google Teams and all that shit. Us? Not so much. We made sure we contacted all families individually to make sure they can access learning material. In some cases that means that I print that shit out at home and send it off by mail. I’m currently telling myself that the cost is set off by not having to commute, but of course not all teachers will do that. And that’s just accessing learning material. Children still need support and an occasional explanation. I’m a teacher and kind of a “Jane of all trades” since in special ed you teach basically all subjects, though the focus is usually on Maths and German, neither of which are the subjects I actually studied. Not only do I learn easily and have years of training in teaching, but also in learning, so I know where to find resources if I’m stuck. Like yesterday when I had to do a quick recap in mechanics before working on it with #1.

Many of my students’ parents didn’t finish even the lowest school leaving cert themselves. For them school was not a good place and they are not able to do the schoolwork themselves, let alone explain it. Many don’t speak German (well) and at least one single mum is illiterate. Homeschooling massively increases injustices in education. Kids of well off, well educated parents keep learning. On the whole their situation is much less stressful right now. My kids have different rooms, there’s a garden I can send them to, for now I don’t have to worry about money or food and we have plenty of entertainment.

B) Parents are not teachers. Not even the parents who actually are teachers. Parents and teachers have different roles and relationships with a child and each of these relationships has a different conflicts. For one thing, while I am very involved in my students’ wellbeing and care for them a lot, they cannot hurt me emotionally in a profound way. While they can annoy me and even make me angry at times, I generally don’t take it personally (they often do, but they’re teenagers so they take the weather personally as well). There’s the kid who has called me all kinds of names and I frankly care more about him getting his anger under control because once he leaves school he’ll be in a hell lot of trouble for calling his boss a b*tch. With my kids things are very different. They can hurt me. they can make me worry on a whole different level. And vice versa. If I teach them at home and there’s some problem and some fight over schoolwork, they cannot go home to a safe place afterwards and complain about fucking Ms Giliell. And right now, having a safe place is much more important than ever. This would always be a problem with homeschooling, but in the current crisis, the relationship between parents and their children is so crucial, it cannot be sacrificed to algebra. When I talk to parents on the phone I tell them that this is the most important thing. School will still be there after Corona. Maths will still be there. But their relationship might not be.

C) Some teachers just don’t get it. While across the country teachers are (rightfully) snickering at parents who are currently finding out that maybe the teacher isn’t the problem, there are also teachers who show no understanding for the problems I talked about in 1 and 2. There’s a video I’ve been sent where a teen dressed up as a teacher is going “oh, homework will help them so here’s my Corona remote teaching: Do every single task and exercise from page 1 to 349! This will be graded”. My social media is full with parents being desperate about not meeting deadlines and kids crying about schoolwork.

Yesterday I was like “are they fucking kidding me” when I printed out #1’s science lessons. Not only does the teacher expect people to have a colour printer, they also expect to learn all of mechanics all by themselves. These kids have never had even the most basic lesson about power, force, mass etc. and all those other important concepts you need to understand shit like levers and stuff. Nobody is telling me that they would have been able to cover all of that in 7 lessons at school. And honestly, I needed 30 minutes of preparation before I was safe enough in using the correct terms. I also bribed her, saying that her Easter gift would come as soon as we finished this because I know that this is the thing she likes the least and she’s struggling anyway, not because she’s having trouble grasping those ideas, but because she’s on the spectrum and needs her clear structure.

Apart from that it’s difficult for teachers to asses if their worksheets are working. In class I can read the room. I can see on the faces whether something makes “click” or not, I know where to look (Is little Jeanie still paying attention and what do I need to do to get her attention). With remote learning there’s little chance of that. Many kids will ask in class, but not write an email. And yeah, even veteran teachers occasionally produce bad material. To be honest, with #1’s physics worksheets I was occasionally wondering what they want me to do. And next on the list is calculating “work”. The formula remains obscure. It has not appeared in the book pages she’s supposed to read or the worksheets up to date. She will learn about it at some later time. I’m not sure if spoilers should be a thing in physics.

And this is the most damning point: child abuse:

D) In schools, daycare, all those institutions, people see kids every day. We notice if kids don’t have food. We notice if they have bruises. I remember a mother who accused us of not having noticed sooner that her daughter was cutting herself (after we informed her, the mother, who shares a household with her daughter). We notice if they don’t have clothes or don’t come to school at all because they need to “take care” of their parents who struggle and don’t manage to give their kids the care they need. Occasionally we just plain feed them. I sometimes complain about the days when I spend more time with adults on the phone than with kids in the classroom, talking to CPS, social workers, therapists. I write “notifications of child endangerment”. None of this is happening right now. CPS is mostly shut down right now. They cannot visit families at home. If they have concrete evidence, they can send the police who are absolutely not trained in those matters (and ironically kids in good middle class homes are most at danger here because if police come to a nice home with well fed kids they won’t do shit.) All of this is happening while people are packed in bad living conditions, struggling financially. Many charities have stopped working while some still try do give at least some support. Children are no longer getting meals at school. Welfare money is already not enough and now those families lose that safe 1 buck hot meal that their children got so far. In some schools it’s even more as for example the special eds centre I belong to (but don’t work at) offers free breakfast as well. We know that while there#s never an excuse for beating your kids, such situations lead to an increase in violence. We have already seen this in China, and children are the most vulnerable. As one CPS worker who still staffs the crisis hotline said: “a four years old can’t dial my number.”

Silence

For the words fail me to express my thoughts and feelings, my anger and despair.

On Yom Kippur there was an antisemitic attack on a German synagogue, killing two people in the street and at a Turkish take away:  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49988482

And if you think I’m bitter, just yesterday the government decided to cut funding for initiatives that fight fascism and provide help for people who want to leave right wing structures.

Supporting Punching Nazis but Condemning Punching Antifas is not Hyppocritical

I, for one, support assaulting Nazis but I do not support assaulting Antifa, yet I do not consider that stance to be hypocritical in the least. Do you know why? Because there is a stark asymmetry in the comparison, those are not two sides of the same coin, those are two different coins. Antifa and Nazis differ in principle.

Firstly, Antifa are a reaction to Nazis. If there were no Nazis, there would be no Antifa, so there would be no-one for Antifa to assault. But if Antifa disappear overnight, there still will be Nazis assaulting LGBTQ and POC etc. Secondly, Nazis are historically proven to be inherently violent. If not violently and consistently opposed to the point when they have no real power anymore, they will only use compromises and dialogues to slowly normalize more and more extreme measures, they will get bolder and bolder – right until the point when they run the government and war and/or extermination camps become official policy.

The asymmetry here is that Nazis are active, whilst Antifa are merely reactive. Argumentum ad absurdum to illustrate the point: It is not hypocritical to condemn Operation Barbarossa whilst condoning Operation Overlord.

Appeasing Nazis does not work, they can’t be content without killing those they deem inferior. Debating Nazis does not work, they can’t be reasoned with. Ridiculing Nazis does only work to a limited extent, they can’t be shamed.

The only thing that works is to scare them into hiding. In Europe, this is today mostly done by outlawing Nazi speech. It is not perfect, but Nazis here have learned to be coy and to hide their Nazism, because they know they are treading a very thin line and that a word out-of-order could put them in jail. Is it perfect? No, racism and xenophobia unfortunately still abound ana fascism and nazism still rear their ugly heads again. Is it better than leaving them spout their bile publicly whilst flying Nazi flags as they do now in USA? Hell yes.

And until the USA sorts out its idiotically naive notions about “freedom of speech”, violence is one of necessary ways of opposing Nazis. If you do not take it early on, you will be forced to do so sooner or later. They won’t give you another option, the have proven that in history, extensively.

On the other hand a Nazi who whines when one of their lot gets punched but cheers when one of our lot gets punched is hypocritical, because – as I said – Nazis are inherently violent. They venerate violence in the best tradition of toxic masculinity. Violence is at the very core of their political stance that violence against any opposition is desired and heroic course of action. They only pretend to be peaceful when it suits them, but peaceful coexistence with anyone is never their goal. Their goal is extermination of “the other”.

I was warning about Trump being outright Fascist from the day I learned about his candidacy and how he runs his campaign. Now, mere two years later, USA has outright concentration camps and finally some of those  who initially thought comparing Trump to Hitler is over-the-top started to wake up to that reality. But there are still nearly two years left until next election. And we are debating whether to punch Nazis or being polite to them? Gimme a break.

International Women’s Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter.

A balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world?
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.

There are events worldwide to celebrate the day and I encourage you to check the site International Women’s Day to see what’s happening in your area. They have a search feature by country and city so plug-in and see what’s up. The site also has a wealth of resources and they’re hosting an international photo competition.

The world is still a dangerous place for women and there is much work to be done before that will change. International Women’s Day is a chance for us all to stand up and say we want a better world; a world where women are paid on parity with men, where access to birth control and abortion services are freely available, where rape is regarded as violent assault and no woman ever is accused of “asking for it.” Every woman I know has a story of inequality or harassment or worse. Let’s change that so that the stories of the next generation reflect a world where people are judged by the content of their character, not the content of their underpants.

Remember Montreal

As chigau pointed out, it’s been 29 years since the École polytechnique massacre in Montreal, yet the story is all too common almost 30 years later. A white man who thought the world owed him a certain place went out to kill women, because he thought they were taking what was rightfully his, denying him his due.

While the event shocked not only the Canadian public, the ideology that led to it is far from eradicated. From Elliot Rogers over the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High to Alek Minassian killing women in Toronto, the pattern of entitlement and violence continues. And these are only the cases that make headlines, the cases where the victims were more or less randomly chosen. It doesn#t even get into the thousands of cases where men kill their (ex) partners or just a woman they hardly knew for turning them down.

And whenever these cases happen, the discussion is the same: mental illness is blamed*, women themselves are blamed. It’s a well practised dance around the violent misogynist mass murderer in the room.

This is why on this day of all, I have no moment of silence, but loud anger. For all of our sisters who have died and who will still die at the hands of men who think they are owed the world, and at the words of those who always have more empathy for the murderer than his victim.

 

*Before somebody feels the need to mention that X, Y, and Z had a history of mental illness, spare yourselves the time, I’ve got none for that discussion. While mental illness may make it easier for those men to turn to more extreme actions, it didn’t instil a hateful ideology into them and no mental illness ever forged a gun.

10 Plants: Bulldozed To Death.

In this June 17, 2015, file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. | Photo: AP Photo / Jim Mone.

In this June 17, 2015, file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. | Photo: AP Photo / Jim Mone.

That’s right: Confronted with a small-scale illicit marijuana grow on public land, the [Pennsylvania] State Police deployed a helicopter and the on-scene bulldozer and managed to kill their target. But that’s not how the cops tried to spin it.

Brought to you with utter disgust and contempt, contempt for fucking cops, who seem to be good for only one thing: murder. Contempt for the puritanical, colonial bullshit which is a complete blight on Amerikkan society.

You can read all the sordid details here.

Sunday Facepalm.

I had never heard of this lunatic before; if you’re like me, you can find an excellent rundown of “Dr. Bill” at Swallowing The Camel:

Dr. William Deagle is a physician, a prophet, a government insider/whistleblower, and one of the two witnesses described in the Book of Revelation. He knows what really happened at Columbine, the World Trade Center, and Oklahoma City. He could be the ruler of the world, but he has chosen to enlighten the masses instead. Thanks to him, the world may someday be safe from Modified Attack Baboons.

There’s a whole lot of material there, and if you search this man, there’s a whole lot of people not happy with him at all, including other christians, which was a bit of a surprise. “Dr. Bill” has had his medical license revoked at least twice, so he went into the supplement business, what else? Okay, on with the current shit pouring out from Dr. Bill.

Earlier this week on “The NutriMedical Report Show,” a radio program hosted by nutritional supplement proprietor Dr. Bill Deagle, Deagle repeatedly threatened to kill anyone who dares to harass him, President Trump, or any other conservative politician in America.

Outraged about recent incidents such as White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi being confronted by protesters, and Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for more such confrontations, Deagle declared that “these people need to understand, they’re not going to have a bad day, they’re going to die.”

Deagle said that if he had been on hand during the confrontation between Bondi and protesters, he would not only have pepper sprayed the protesters but “would have whipped out my concealed carry permit gun and I would have blown them away and put them in a box.”

He seems nice. It’s rather interesting how Deagle seems to think he has the perfect right to assault and murder people at will. That said, he seems to keep a cozy distance between himself and any protesters, so at this point at least, he seems to understand there would be consequences. I hope so.

“They need to understand the right is not going to be shouted down,” he said. “[If] they continue to think they are going to harass the right, these people need to understand they’re not going to have a bad day, they’re going to die.”

Right, because only one side is allowed to shout; only one side is allowed to march or protest. Everyone else needs a tank rolled over them. I get the feeling that “Dr. Bill” would be seriously at home with all aspects of Nazism.

“People need to start realizing they’re going to get a lot more than they bargained for if they want to harass us, supporters of Donald Trump and conservatism,” Deagle stated. “They’re not going to get just a little helter skelter and yelling, they’re going to get death.”

Deagle also issued a warning to Democratic candidates and lawmakers who are calling for the abolishment of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch.

“We’ll ice them, how’s that?” he said. “We’ll put them on ice.”

Unfortunately, no matter how much Deagle protects himself from any action with consequences, there are people who listen to him who might not be concerned about any consequence, and that’s scary as hell. There are already enough aggrieved white men spraying bullets and murdering people. This open incitement to murder is terrifying.

“I’ve reached my limit now,” Deagle fumed. “They want to bring it on? You’re going to get a lot more than you bargained for, believe me. The destroyer is not the devil, it’s God and we’re his proxy. You want to bring it on? You’re going to bring on your own devastation and destruction. Don’t push it.”

Every day, I wish more and more that christianity would just fucking die already. Religious fanatics are frightening, and christianity is chock full of them. For all that they scream about religious fanatics on the ‘other side’, they never seem to look within their own ranks, or face up to the reality that there are a lot of scary ass christian fanatics out there not only doing a great deal of damage, but with intent to do even worse at every step of the way.

RWW has the full story.

Sunday Facepalm: All Ya Need Is Nice.

thirddrawerdown.com.

Star Parker, yet another conservative idiot, has decided on her defense of guns in the wake of the last school shooting. Those darn students weren’t nice enough to the shooter! We don’t need gun control or any sort of reform, no. What we need is niceness! We are all responsible for every dude walking around with a growing grudge, a tantrum, and a gun. You betcha. As to blaming the students:

“Well, not necessarily one individual student, but we can call for gun control if we want to as a nation, we can call for more federal laws if we want to as a nation, but usually when you’re faced with tragedy, you first check yourself,” Parker said. “We have forgotten how to just look inwardly. We’ve become such a nation of victims that we’ve forgotten to say, ‘Wait a minute, what could I have done?’”

[…]

“Well, perhaps said ‘hello,’ perhaps said ‘I’m sorry to hear your dad died,’” Parker said. “This is a very small community of people we’re talking about. This is not the responsibility of Washington, D.C., or the NRA. This is the responsibility of people that are closest to someone to be able to look them in the eye as an individual. So the challenge of this whole nation of victims is that now it’s not about us anymore, it’s about somebody else, our problems are somebody else’s fault. Well, no, actually, this is a very small community, someone must have saw his sadness, someone must have known his dad died.”

Ms. Parker didn’t listen to the students talking. Ms. Parker certainly didn’t listen to Ms. Emma Gonzalez, who pointed out, strongly, that they knew that kid. They knew what he was like. They knew his desire for violence, his propensity for cruelty. They did speak out, they tried to tell people, they tried to warn people, but no one listened well enough to what they had to say, and now a lot of kids are dead. Sometimes, reaching out to a person can make all the difference in the world, but simply being ‘nice’ isn’t enough to reach anyone. If you’re going to extend ‘nice’, it needs to go further than that; and there are people you can’t reach in any way. The shooter in this case was primed to go off for years, but it was ignored by everyone except the students. The students wanted to know why people like his neighbours ignored him wandering around with a fucking gun. How about you answer that one, Ms. Parker? I would have loved to see you walk up to a kid wandering about with a gun and be ‘nice’ to him.

[…]

“Well, they expelled him probably because he was acting out,” she said, “and he was acting out probably because he didn’t have any friends—you know, whoever sat next to him in class, they’d better not be the ones who are protesting out there today.”

They expelled him because he was a danger to others, you fucking idiot. Sitting next to someone in class does not make you friends, and friendship is not a one way street. Christ, I loathe conservatives.

The whole mess and video is at RWW. In other, depressing news, the Dominionists of the Theocalypse have descended on CPAC, all of them staying at the Trump Hotel to sing their praises to the Tiny Tyrant. You can read the whole sorry thing here.

Mother’s Nightmare.

Kate Kretz, “Cri de Cœur (Heart Cry)” (2018, after a detail of “Scène du Déluge,” 1827, by Joseph-Désiré Court), graphite on paper, 14 x 11 inches (courtesy of the artist).

Kate Kretz, “Cri de Cœur (Heart Cry)” (2018, after a detail of “Scène du Déluge,” 1827, by Joseph-Désiré Court), graphite on paper, 14 x 11 inches (courtesy of the artist).

While I understand poetic license, I’ll just add this is a father’s nightmare, too. That said, powerful artwork and poetry from Kate Kretz…

Here
the bitter dusty old men
dream
of the battle they shoulda won at Gettysburg
or finally
showing Daddy they could be a man
(in the street at High Noon)

Here
the young ones (who can’t get laid)
are
momentarily
Duke Nukem from Bulletstorm Full Clip
(in overkill mode, for extra points)
Finally scoring.

Here
another walking-anger-management-issue
finds a people-killing machine
(no problem)
It fires
fast and hard
a jolt
to finally feel something
Make their mark.

Here
mothers
must forever wade in the nightmares that
their children
might be the next collateral damage
in
yet another lost man’s
fantasy
of self-actualization

Via Hyperallergic.

Sunday Facepalm.

Image credit: STILLFX.

Today, a host of different flavours in the category of evil conservative christians, who will deny reality and be incredibly offensive to their dying breath. Guns are a major problem in Ustates, and that’s an understatement. It’s beyond time we grew the fuck up and put the lethal toys away. Oh, but what are some dead children (or adults) to conservative christians? Nothing, that’s what. The main focus here will be that smarmy asshole, Wayne Allyn Root, who is indeed incensed, but it’s not about guns, oh no.

“Here is my other complaint, and it is a big one,” Root said. “What’s the biggest news story of the day? See, the media thinks it’s this shooting and they will blanket it. Of the 30 minutes on the news tonight, I’ll bet you 20-plus will be the shooting, maybe 25 of them will be the shooting and then maybe they’ll put five minutes at the end in other news today. And none of them will even mention the story I am about to give you, which I think is the biggest news story in America by far.”

“This shooting is horrible, horrific, and if you’re the parents, I’m crying for you,” he said, “but it’s a one-time event and tomorrow we’re on to something else, but this is representative of what is going on in America.”

A one time event? No, these shootings are not one time events, that would be the fucking problem, Mr. Root. These mass shootings are increasing, and in many cases, there are warnings blaring all over the damn place, but no one can do anything because guns everywhere.

Fuming that a jury had awarded graffiti artists more than $6 million after murals they had painted were destroyed by a real estate developer, Root ranted that “this is what is wrong with America.”

This, according to Mr. Root, is the BIGGEST story in America. Yep. Don’t get bigger than that, oh no. Why an obscenely rich asshole destroyed a lot of art, and was fined for it. Dead kids? Yes, but did you see this? Much, much worse!

“Liberals see a school shooting one time—how many kids are there in America? There is 330 million people, so maybe there is like 40 million kids in school, 25 million kids in school,” he said. “Let’s say there are 25 to 40 million kids in school right now; God forbid anyone’s child is ever killed, any child that is killed is a nightmare and a tragedy beyond belief—I’m not trying to make light of it—but 5 kids killed, 10 kids killed, 20 kids killed, horrific, but that doesn’t affect society forever more. But when you’ve got judges awarding $6.7 million to punk thug graffiti lowlifes because a good man, a developer, covered up their art, that affects the entire country forever.”

Are there even adequate words for such a callous dismissal? Oh, those dead kids, they’ll be forgotten, who cares? Unfortunately for Mr. Root, a whole lot of us care. We care that people died for no fucking reason at all, just another person having a temper tantrum with the opportunity to make it lethal. We care that the families and friends of those slain are forever altered, and they are a part of society, Mr. Root, and you do not get to pretend they are no longer part of American society. These lethal incidents have a longstanding effect on the psyche of our society. Other countries recognize the terrible cost of such lethality, and not being mired in stupidity, take measures to see such things cannot happen. All we get from assholes like yourself are the ever ubiquitous thoughts and prayers.

As for your big story, I feel awful for the artists, I know how I’d feel if my work was wiped out by an arrogant asshole, but I can’t imagine who would be at all sorry said arrogant asshole had to pay for his behaviour. All that said, none of that, in any way, measures up to the horror, shock and grief of dead children and adults. A favourite argument of conservative christians when it comes to abortion is “but what if it’s your pregnancy which would result in someone who cures cancer?” and so on. “You could be carrying the hope of humanity!” Why doesn’t that argument work when it comes to people with guns mowing down children in schools? What if those kids were holding a future hope of humanity? Ah, but that’s conservative christians for you, they love fetuses and hate children.

You can read the whole thing at RWW.

Also in the evil conservative christian category:

Carl Gallups has gone with the latest shooting being a demonic attempt to undermine America via gun control. Because antichrist. Oh, and demons.

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld has the solution: drill and train children in hand to hand combat, because that will work so well against guns.

Dave Daubenmire wants to know why not one 17 year old male in the latest shooting was not man enough to tackle the shooter. Erm, maybe they didn’t want to fucking die, Dave.

Liz Crokin “thinks” the shooter was innocent and framed by “Deep State”.