Let’s get even deeper into “libertarianism”

I was delighted with Paul Krugman’s column on “libertarianism.” That is, the Koch Bros Final Solution to Democracy. That is, what Nancy MacLean’s terrific historical perspective, “Democracy in Chains,” digs into.

The Big Lie.

Krugman’s column came just as I was about to quote another passage from MacLean, this time on the “libertarian” view of public school education. (It’s important to realize that, in MacLean’s analysis, the primary provocation for contemporary “libertarianism” was Brown v. Board of Education. That is, white Southerners with money were outraged by the idea they should, via taxes, be paying for the education of black kids.)

Read this. It should sound familiar, if you’ve been keeping up with the antics of Betsy DeVos, et al. I’ve bolded some of the most scream-inducing sentences:

A different kind of catastrophe is under way in the nation’s public school system, a target of the Mont Pelerin Society cause since the 1950s — well before the rise of powerful teachers’ unions, it bears noting. Rather than admit their ideological commitment to ending public education, they have convinced a sizable segment of the American population that the problems in schools today are the result of those teachers’ unions having too much power. In the states where they have won control, like my own state of North Carolina, the cadre’s allied elected officials, pushed by affiliates of the State Policy Network, have rushed to pass laws to debilitate teachers’ unions, one bill being hurried through passage after midnight. The Republican-dominated North Carolina General Assembly then also cut seven thousand teacher assistants, allotted $100 million less than the state budget office said was needed merely to maintain the schools, and budgeted $500 million less to public schools than it had in 2008. Even the school supplies budget was cut by more than half; students can no longer take home textbooks in some poor communities, for fear they may be lost.

Where is this money going? Into corporate America, to a new “education industry” of private schools, many of which are held to no standards or even disclosure requirements. One shocked superior court judge found that the North Carolina General Assembly had violated the state constitution in sending children with tax subsidies to “private schools that have no legal obligation to teach them anything.” (His verdict was overruled by the state supreme court, which the Koch cadre had spent handsomely to control for just such eventualities.) The new for-profit virtual charter schools, whose CEO personally earned $4 million in 2014, were found, by one Stanford University research study, to have left their enrolled students falling far behind their public school counterparts, equivalent to missing “72 days of learning in reading and 180 days of learning in math” in a 180-day school year. In other words, the online schools in this study taught nothing in math, and little in reading. As a result of all this, North Carolina, which during the twentieth century, through wise investments in public education, had climbed from the poorest of southern states to one of the best-off, now ranks beneath Mississippi in per-pupil spending.

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Women are fighting the global war against them

“Saudi Women, Tired of Restraints, Find Ways To Flee.”

The heart of the global war against women is the god problem. Saudi women are not merely leaving the kingdom; they are leaving a theocracy. Even if they don’t phrase it that way, I think they’re rejecting living as slaves to fundamentalist, patriachal religion.

The Times piece begins:

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Whenever her father beat her, or bound her wrists and ankles to punish her for perceived disobedience, the Saudi teenager dreamed of escape, she said.

As desperate as she was to leave, however, the same question always stopped her short: How would she get out?

If she ran away anywhere within the country, the Saudi police would just send her home, she feared. Saudi law barred her from traveling abroad without her father’s permission.

But during a family vacation in Turkey when she was 17, Shahad al-Muhaimeed saw her chance, and bolted. While her family slept, she took a taxi across the border to Georgia and declared herself a refugee, leaving Saudi Arabia behind to start a new life.

“I now live the way I want to,” said Ms. Muhaimeed, 19, by phone from her new home in Sweden. “I live in a good place that has women’s rights.”

Then there’s Orthodox Judaism, with its own vicious way of trapping women.

And more Orthodox Judaism versus women.

Some women who are bravely fighting fundamentalist religions.


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Fundamentalist Religion’s War on Women. Con’t

Thanks to Kevin Underhill’s LoweringTheBar, I give you this bitter pill (you’ll chew your fingernails and scream before you swallow any pill — with a full glass of water) announcing a step forward in the rights of Saudi women. (Hm, maybe “step forward” is too forward.) Read on:

Saudi Women Now Entitled to Text Message Notifying Them of Divorce

Jan 09, 2019 05:30 am | Kevin

Bloomberg reports there has been yet another breakthrough for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, a country where women have long been second- or third-class citizens but were recently allowed to drive (with appropriate male supervision). As of last Sunday, a new regulation “make[s] it mandatory for a woman to be notified by text message when a court issues her husband’s divorce decree.”

Not when her husband files for divorce or when the court holds a hearing (if there is one). Only after the court issues the decree declaring that she and her husband are no longer married.

That is when she is entitled to get the text message.

Jurist explained the situation this way:

[M]en in Saudi Arabia can obtain a divorce with a verbal statement verified in court [i.e., they just say it] while women must provide both a reason and evidence of abuse. This often led to a practice of “secret divorce” whereby men would divorce their wives but remain living with them [causing] their now ex-wives to miss out on alimony payments. In some cases this also led to men impersonating their wives or using previously valid powers of attorney in order to gain control of their ex-wives’ finances.

(Emphasis added.) Hence the now-required text message.

The Saudi Ministry of Justice said the step was “aimed at protecting the rights of female clients,” but it’s not clear to me how it could do that if the notice—which, again, is a text message—only goes out after the decree has been issued. And that does seem to be what will happen. As Bloomberg put it in a (not-very-helpful) subheading, “Measure ensures women know about marital status change,” not that they will be able to do anything to affect what the decree looks like. Maybe there are post-divorce measures that can be taken, but a source quoted by Al Jazeera said that knowing about the divorce would not mean a woman would necessarily get alimony or custody of her children. But I guess if you don’t even know you’ve been divorced, the chances you would get those things is pretty much zero.

So, as Suad Abu-Dayyeh of the group Equality Now put it, this may be a “tiny step, but it is a step in the right direction.”

“In most Arab countries,” she said, “men can just divorce their wives.” But now, “[a]t least women will know whether they are divorced or not.”

Assuming their husbands let them have cell phones, that is.

One report also said that the move “is part of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030 project for Saudi Arabia which seeks to reinvent Saudi Arabia as an open and inviting modern nation,” one that may behead slightly fewer people than it does today, for example.

Yes, that’s the same Crown Prince who (allegedly) had Jamal Kashoggi murdered and dismembered. What a guy! And here’s another great civil rights move in Saudi Arabia (read this one very carefully, and this time it’s my bolding):

Sources report that in another groundbreaking reform, the families of people who are killed and dismembered after criticizing the Crown Prince will now be entitled to text messages informing them of their loved one’s physical status change.

OK, once again: Women, would you please get the fuck out of religion? It isn’t healthy.

Posted in Politics, Strictly for bitter laughter, The Facts of Life, The Global War Against Women, The god problem | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fundamentalist Religion’s War on Women. Con’t