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Please begin with an informative title:

You know, sometimes its hard to figure out where people get their ideas from, especially the ones that seem so ludicrous or irrational.

I've got something of a lighter workload today so I thought I'd take you on a journey through where some of it comes from.  It's neither an exhaustive look nor a complete one, but it's a taste.

I thought that looking at a Civics textbook currently in use would be a good start.  Just through pure random Google results (i.e. it was on the first page), I'll start with this one by Holt, Rinehart and Winston entitled "CIVICS" with the subtitle of "Social Studies".

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

It is copyrighted so I'm just excerpting a few portions under the fair use rules.

Chapter 1 is entitled "We the People" which sounds good enough.  The subheading says this:

Activity: Conduct research about incidents in which ordinary citizens made a difference in their communities, states, or nation. Then write a series of journal entries from the point of view of one of the people profiled at the Web site. As an extension, explain how the episodes illustrate American ideals, the roles of the citizen, and the qualities of good citizenship.
Ok, sounds pretty good!  Let's see who is profiled on the website.  Well one is Clifford W. Beers.  Ever heard of him?  Wikipedia is rather bare but luckily the Holt webpage links to this brief biography:
Clifford W. Beers has often been called the founder of the modern mental health movement. A man who had a mental disorder himself and received deplorable treatment, Beers devoted his life to advocacy on behalf of adults and children with mental illness in the United States and throughout the world. Through the telling of his experience and the subsequent creation of the National Mental Health Association, he revolutionized attitudes about and care for people with mental disorders.
Sounds good.  Except right away you might notice that this biography is on a page of other people being honored by the "Points of Light" Volunteer Pathway for going the "extra mile".  That's Pappy Bush's foundation right?  Indeed it is.

Which isn't surprising when you understand that Clifford Beers' original name for his "mental health" organization was the "Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene."  If you ever see the word "hygiene" in the name of a pre-1940's organization, you can pretty much guess that's one of the codewords for the eugenics movement.

And what do you know?  One of the first directors of Beers' organization was none other than Prescott Bush, George W.'s grandfather and the father of the "Points of Light" George Bush.  

Prescott became a member of Skull and Bones in 1916, which just so happens to be the same organization which ran Beers' "mental health" society and was the same secret society Beers alluded to joining in his biography, which is lauded on the Holt webpage.

Speaking of his biography, essentially he was an upper class white male who went to Yale and then joined a Wall Street firm and then had a bad nervous breakdown.  While he was in the mental institution he was shocked that rich men were treated the same as poor ones.

After two years of increasing paranoia and depression he almost "instantly" is cured and becomes inspired to improve the treatment of mentally ill people.  From reading through it, it seems he genuinely suffered in these places when he was confined and genuinely wanted to improve how the mentally ill were treated.  Unfortunately his belief in "hygiene":

Elsewhere is an account of how my plan broadened from reform to cure, from cure to prevention—how far, with the co-operation of some of this country's ablest specialists and most generous philanthropists, it has been realized, nationally and internationally, through the new form of social mechanism known as societies, committees, leagues or associations for mental hygiene.
That and because he was not rich, the donors to the cause and the first supporters were the upper crust at Yale who were avid supporters of eugenics.

Second on the list of "We the People" is David Keirsey, who invented probably the most widely used psychological profiling test called the Temperament Sorter.  I'll skip the fact that the historical motivation for these kinds of tests were to prove "scientifically" that some races were superior to others.

The first edition of Keirsey's test was written in 1978 so let's just forget the history of psychometrics for a minute.  Who is Keirsey the man?  Well he is a man who used his "scientific test" to "prove" what a great personality George H.W. Bush has:

Besides being unusually provident little George was also unusually dependable about doing household chores and cleaning up after himself. When, for example, he went fishing and caught a fish he would clean it immediately, an unpleasant task even for an adult. Only then would he display his catch to family and friends.

Even as an adult Bush's manner is so kind, cheerful, and generous that, as one acquaintance in Kennebunkport, Maine (the Bush family's primary residence) put it, “if Bush were running for sainthood in this area he'd make it unopposed.

Well gosh, that's two people out of three in Chapter 1 of this textbook who are admirers of the Bush family!  Who is number three then?

Well he is Matt Kelley, founder of the organization "MAVIN" which is the "nation's leading organization dedicated to multiracial youth".  Hardly sounds like he belongs with the other two guys excepting for the fact he too he is a "Points of Light" recipient.

Kelly has openly criticized Jeb Bush's son but I wasn't the only one to wonder how odd it was to take grandpa's money while simultaneously deriding grandpa's biracial grandson.  Well not for being biracial, just for his politics.

Ok so that's Chapter One.  Chapter 2 is called "Foundations of Government".

The subtitles are:

The Monarchy Today
This site will give information about The Queen’s role in modern society.     

Cabinet Office
Read this site for information on government in England.     

U.S. Policy on Cuba
Learn more about the U.S. policy toward Cuba.     

The Government of Tibet in Exile
Visit this official website of the Government of Tibet in Exile to learn about the invasion and illegal annexation of Tibet by the Chinese in 1949. This site provides information on the status of Tibet, the government of Tibet and Tibetan culture.     

People's Republic of China
A map of the People's Republic of China featuring information on the country.

So two links to England and how great it is, one on Cuba which hasn't been updated since 2001 and two on how terrible the Chinese are.

So these are the "types" of governments to study.  Two Communist (bad) and one a constitional monarchy (good) and one former theocratic dictatorship (good) which was conquered by the (bad) Communist one.  

You can also read about "First Ladies" as part of the "Foundations of Government", you know, since they were never members of it at any level in over 200 years.

Chapter 3 is entitled "The U.S. Constitution".  The website described the branches of government including a list of "researcher resources", which link to some Supreme Court cases like McCulloch v. Maryland:

The Court invoked the Elastic Clause in the Constitution, which allowed the Federal government to pass laws not expressly provided for in the Constitution's list of express powers as long as those laws are in useful furtherance of the express powers.
Jolly.  You might remember this case as being concerned with defending the Second Bank of the United States, which was destroyed by Andrew Jackson and derided as the "Devil's Bank".  Worth its own diary one day.  (Alexander Hamilton, the founder and supporter of the first two U.S. Banks is given his own link in Chapter 19 "Managing Money").

Chapter 4 is called "Rights and Responsibilities".  The first subheading is "First Amendment Freedoms".

That goes to a website where flag burning is discussed an a classroom exercise in debating free speech.  Here's what that webpage says under "enrichment":

Many people, including such leaders as then-President George Bush, were outraged by the Supreme Court’s decision. “Flag-burning is wrong, dead wrong, and the flag of the United States is very, very special,” said Bush. Congress then passed a law making flag burning illegal. The Supreme Court struck down the Flag Protection Act of 1989 in 1990, by a 5-4 vote.
One vote shy kiddos!

Next it says this:

Flag-burning is a form of speech that is protected by the First Amendment — for the time being. As reported in the First Amendment Center’s State of the First Amendment 2000  a telephone survey of 1,015 adults conducted in April 2000, the country remains split on the issue of a flag-burning amendment, but for the first time a majority (51%) opposes it.
That particular website is run by the "Freedom Forum" which describes itself as a "non-partisan" organization.  I note however it was founded by Allen "Al" Neuharth, who among other things was the creator of USA Today.  Although he's "retired" from the newspaper business, he still pens the occasional column.

Here's one on Fidel Castro:

This personal insight: In 1988, Castro was one of 32 heads of state on six continents with whom I met during a USA TODAY international news-gathering and promotional tour called the JetCapade.

Thoroughly briefed in advance, Castro keyed our 10 p.m. meeting with this question:

• "Mr. Neuharth, I understand your new newspaper USA TODAY is losing a lot of money. How do you pay the bills?"

• My honest but innocent reply: "Our Gannett Company has more than 80 very profitable newspapers and they help out financially."

• Castro: "Aha! Your company and my country are both socialistic!"

I paused, then smiled, said "touché" and lifted the glass of Cuban rum he had given me.

If I had argued with him, our meeting probably would have ended promptly. Instead, he talked with several of my associates and me until 3:55 a.m.

My hunch is our government could have KO'd Castro years ago with communication and capitalism. Our isolation and castration didn't work.

Heyo! Zinger!  I also note he called George W. the "worst president of all time" and has repeatedly criticized the current Bush administration's policies in Iraq.  Don't be fooled however, Neuharth is a big fan of Poppy Bush as well as bigwigs like Newt Gingrich and I sure won't mention the words Bohemian Grove either.

The rest of the chapter and its subheadings including "Tough Calls: How Do Journalists Make Ethical Decisions?" are all linked to the Freedom Forum's website.  

I could go on and on, including Chapter 10 (titled "Electing Leaders") with a link to a few states' elections websites (including Florida) which no joke starts with this paragraph:

Obtain information about the various methods of voting used in different states and localities. In particular, research methods of voting in the 2000 Presidential election.
Indeed!

Chapter 12 (Paying for Government) has a quiz which question one is:

"What is the largest cost to the federal government?

A) Benefit Payments
B) Defense
C) Interest on the National Debt

You guessed it, it's those entitlements to the people which somehow come in at #1.  Might've been true in 2003 except it sure isn't now.  And even back in those cheaper days, B and C combined were far higher than A.  And that's not even counting the fact that "supplemental" spending on the military in Iraq and Afghanistan is magically "off budget"!

Chapter 13 is entitled "Citizenship and the Family", Chap. 14 is "Citizenship in School" (worth reading for the whitewashed PBS link to the founders of public education although some of the truth about Horace Mann couldn't be completely eliminated), Chapter 15 is "Citizenship in the Community" and Chatper 17 is "Citizenship and the Law" (where the quiz will remind you "A criminal is a person who commits any type of crime").  

Chapter 23 is entitled "Foreign Policy" and the first link goes to the NSA.  What?  Yep.  Before the State Department.  Then the third link goes to the Pentagon so the kids can "find out what's going on".  And last but not least, the ever jolly CIA's Home Page for Kids which is encrypted for your safety!  Here's some "fun facts" on the website designed for kids mind you:

As World War II drew to a close, Donovan's civilian and military rivals feared that he might win his campaign to create a peacetime intelligence service modeled on the OSS.  President Harry S. Truman, who succeeded Roosevelt in April 1945, felt no obligation to retain OSS after the war.  Once victory was won, the nation wanted to demobilize quickly—which included dismantling wartime agencies like the OSS.  Although it was abolished in October 1945, however, the OSS's analytic, collection, and counterintelligence functions were transferred on a smaller scale to the State and War Departments.

President Truman soon recognized the need for a centralized intelligence system.

Creeeepy.  Not as weird though as the psychedelic trip over at the NGA's website for kids.

Chapter 25 is entitled "Improving Life for all Americans".  Check out the final quiz here which seems to reference an entire chapter on "Slums".  But check out question number 8:

"Homelessness is a(n) __ problem in the United States"

1) New
2) Old

When you click "Old" it pops up a window that says:

Correct! There have always been homeless people in the United States.
Really??  Seriously are you f*king with my head or what?

Well that's about all I can take right now so I'll end it there.

I'll leave you with this link to CNN's "student news" from 2002 using a lesson plan submitted by Holt, Rinehart and Winston:

2. Locate Iran on Holt, Rinehart and Winston's map of Assia. Who is Mohammad Khatami? What was Khatami's reaction to Mr. Bush's charges against Iran? What were Iran's various responses to the September 11 terrorist attacks on America?
God help us all.

Pax

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Soj on Tue Mar 06, 2007 at 06:38 AM PST.

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