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October 26, 2004

America. Markos Moulitsas reports an email he received:
A friend with a child in the Richland County,WI high school where George Bush appears today reports the following. Students were told they could not wear any pro-Kerry clothing or buttons or protest in any manner, at the risk of expulsion.
Kos’s commenters are industrious. Here’s the school:
Richland Center High School
23200 Hornet High Rd
Richland Center, WI 53581
Phone: (608) 647-6131

Here’s the principal:
John Cler
608-647-6131 x1590

Here’s the local superintendant of schools:
Rachel Schultz
608-647-6106

Here’s the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction:
1-800-441-4563

Here’s the state superintendent:
Elizabeth Burmaster
state.superintendent@dpi.state.wi.us

Expulsion means you’re tossed out of public school for the rest of the year. For wearing a button supporting the Democratic nominee for President.

Still think it’s extreme to call these people fascists? [03:32 PM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on America.:

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:03 PM:

At least Bush didn't make the kids sign loyalty oaths....

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:48 PM:

I still think it's extreme. They are more Wilhelmine. You don't get proper fascism until you've lost your first world war.

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:49 PM:

But it is good preparation for the corporate workplace, where Republicans and Libertarians get to swing from the rafters but anyone who expresses a liberal viewpoint is jeopardizing their career...

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:51 PM:

I still think it's extreme. They are more Wilhelmine. You don't get proper fascism until you've lost your first world war.

Carlos ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:52 PM:

I've let my homes from Richland Center know, and man, is he pissed. I sent him the Kos link.

If anyone knows Lynda Barry's address, she's a daughter of the RC too.

C.

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:54 PM:

sorry. I got a server error that looked sincere.

julia ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:12 PM:

Andrew - such a Godwin's law minefield that comment...

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:18 PM:

Yeah, I do think it’s extreme to call these people fascists Taking fascist as I understand the term banning Coke gear in a Pepsi school or vice versa - as has in fact happened - might be fascist.

The infringement of free speech rights described here is stupid beyond belief - but then a null hypothesis of stupid beyond belief is irrefutable for many school administrators - as well as a violation of constitutional rights to free speech in an area of speech - political speech - entitled to the greatest protection or alternatively phrased where any restriction must stand the strictest possible scrutiny. Of course this doesn't and wouldn't and won't. Ranks right up there with saying a student may not use a picture with a sporting firearm in the yearbook - as has also happened - but hardly fascist.

Where stupidity is an adequate explanation I might look no farther but I would welcome an explanation of why this in particular is fascism and another incident of political correctness in the schools isn't.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:29 PM:

Clark, if you haven't already, I commend Dave Niewert's analysis of the elements of what he calls, "Pseudo-fascism" in the modern conservative movement.

Orcinus It's six parts, of seven, that he's written so far, and he has some other stuff as well, on the general subject.

Interesting, even if you think he's a bit past correct (which I wish I did).

TK

David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:31 PM:

How about Secret Service contacts? I'd imagine they're the ones who asked for the restriction.

David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:32 PM:

I've found a couple of articles mentioning the school visit on news.google.com, but none about the restrictions on protest and the threat of expulsion yet.

Josh ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:45 PM:

Still think itís extreme to call these people fascists?

*Which* people?

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:48 PM:

A Section 1983 Action - for deprivation of civil liberties under color of State authority - is so attractive in its remedies as to be over advocated and under-utilized in practice but on the bare facts here such an action might well lie. Not a professional opinion but an engaging option.
Terry if you have to go to school in Texas why not San Angelo this time of year?

PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 07:17 PM:

I don't think it's extreme at all to call these people fascists; in fact, it's long past due. Nazis didn't start by committing mass murder, after all, but rather with lots of flag waving rallies and propaganda and bragging about casual cruelties in the beer hall. Now is the time to stomp on it, not 5 years from now. We've already got the uncaring acceptance of torture, the jingoism, the militarism...we're already too late. We should have been marching in the streets four years ago.

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 07:28 PM:

Blatantly unconstitutional is what it is. I hope some parent successfully sues whoever thought up that cockamamie policy.

[And yes, I know Bush rallies in other public places have had similar restrictions, but the Supreme Court has ruled that schools, in particular, are special.]

Fred Ramsey ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 07:38 PM:

Sadly, the federal courts have ruled that juveniles do not have the same guarantee to the use of political speech that adults do. Can't remember the exact case, but it had to do with the rights of school administrators to censor or ban student edited publications that are distributed on school grounds or paid for by district funds.

Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 09:09 PM:

I'm not worried about whether it's fascist--I'm sure it's disgustingly authoritarian. granting that so are many school administrations, what does it say about a president who has such a fragile spirit that he can't stand to see an opposition button?

Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 09:41 PM:

can't stand to see an opposition button
even from a high school student who's too young to cast a vote anyway...

Also, what does it say that Bush is making appearances before captive audiences of schoolchildren, while John Kerry is holding open-air speeches for hundreds of thousands?

lightning ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 10:02 PM:

If it were me (I was pretty damn obnoxious in high school), I'd probably wear something like "Kill all the Democrat commie traitors" or "Nuke Mecca". Has Bush ever expressed any disapproval of his more, um, enthusiastic supporters?

"Turn the handle the way it's supposed to go, only further." -- Eric Frank Russel, "A Study in Still Life"

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 10:34 PM:

Patrick, werenít you the one arguing that ďNot every instance of overweening authority is ĎfascismíĒ just a couple of months ago?

Not that I disagree with you.

Either time.

Damn, Iím not turning up anything about this on Google News, which Iím guessing means not many people are hearing about it.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 10:48 PM:

Jesus fucked a pony, thereís even worse in Iowa:

One of the latest incidents came when John Sachs, 18, a Johnston High School senior and Democrat, went to see Bush in Clive last week. Sachs got a ticket to the event from school and wanted to ask the president about whether there would be a draft, about the war in Iraq, Social Security and Medicare.

But when he got there, a campaign staffer pulled him aside and made him remove his button that said, "Bush-Cheney '04: Leave No Billionaire Behind." The staffer quizzed him about whether he was a Bush supporter, asked him why he was there and what questions he would be asking the president.

"Then he came back and said, 'If you protest, it won't be me taking you out. It will be a sniper,'" Sachs said. "He said it in such a serious tone it scared the crap out of me."

P.C.Chapman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:00 PM:

Check out the demograhics of the school system ,it's 98% WHITE! Bush is worried about Wisconsin white kids protesting against the war!

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:08 PM:

If we're going to cite cases then I suggest:
Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Comm. School Dist.
Syllabus
Petitioners, three public school pupils in Des Moines, Iowa, were suspended from school for wearing black armbands to protest the Government's policy in Vietnam. They sought nominal damages and an injunction against a regulation that the respondents had promulgated banning the wearing of armbands. The District Court dismissed the complaint on the ground that the regulation was within the Board's power, despite the absence of any finding of substantial interference with the conduct of school activities. The Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, affirmed by an equally divided court. Held:

1. In wearing armbands, the petitioners were quiet and passive. They were not disruptive and did not impinge upon the rights of others. In these circumstances, their conduct was within the protection of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth. Pp. 505-506.

2. First Amendment rights are available to teachers and students, subject to application in light of the special characteristics of the school environment. Pp. 506-507.(emphasis added)

3. A prohibition against expression of opinion, without any evidence that the rule is necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others, is not permissible under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Pp. 507-514.

DISPOSITION: 383 F.2d 988, reversed and remanded. [504]

I just might read that to imply that juveniles -students - in fact have the same rights as adults - teachers - certainly to pure speech but subject to more stingent than usual time place and manner restrictions given the school's actions in place of the parents. In any event I would read it to suggest the school administration that today objected to black armbands is acting in bad faith.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:15 PM:

Of course if we propose to worry about shooters who don't deserve the name of snipers may I remind this group and the world that Lon Horiuchi is still walking free.

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:16 PM:

Of course if we propose to worry about shooters who don't deserve the name of snipers may I remind this group and the world that Lon Horiuchi is still walking free to our sorrow.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:44 PM:

... and on the work front:
The Decatur Daily September 12, 2004 ( via )
Woman says she lost job for sporting Kerry sticker on car
by Clyde L. Stancil - Staff Writer

MOULTON, Alabama. Lynne Gobbell never imagined the cost of a John Kerry-John Edwards bumper sticker could run so high.
[She] didn't pay a cent for the sticker that she proudly displays on the rear windshield of her Chevrolet Lumina, but said it cost her job at a local factory after it angered her boss, Phil Gaddis ...

Bumper Sticker Insubordination
A Kerry fan gets fired, and then hired, for her politics.
By Timothy Noah (Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004)
One of this column's various mandates is to keep track of people who get fired from their jobs solely for holding certain political beliefs. Firing a person because you don't like his or her politics runs contrary to just about everything this country stands for, but it is not against the law ...

Theoretically "Firing a person because you don't like his or her politics" is against the law in Australia, but probably not for much longer. One of the big pushes on now that the Liberal Party (sorta like UK Conservative or US Republican) was returned to government on October 9th with more seats, is "amending" the Unfair Dismissal legislation that the former Labor [sic] Party government brought in. This legislation means you have to give some reasonable cause for sacking someone. By "amending", they basically mean "make inoperative", though as usual there is some cover of words to smooth over the ugly truth.

Jonathan Edelstein ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 12:01 AM:

You don't get proper fascism until you've lost your first world war.

The Bushies are working on it.

FMguru ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:19 AM:

We should have been marching in the streets four years ago.

Four years ago, the Smart Set was going around assuring us that there was no difference between Bush and Gore, and that the best way to promote a progressive agenda was to allow a theo-corporate regime to do as much damage as possible.

Well done, Nader voters. Well done.

Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:32 AM:

To be strictly fair, "child of a friend" who sent an e-mail sounds a lot like "friend of a friend" to me. I'd want to see a little more documentation before going any further.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:33 AM:

... and on the work front:
The Decatur Daily September 12, 2004 ( via )
Woman says she lost job for sporting Kerry sticker on car
by Clyde L. Stancil - Staff Writer

MOULTON, Alabama. Lynne Gobbell never imagined the cost of a John Kerry-John Edwards bumper sticker could run so high.
[She] didn't pay a cent for the sticker that she proudly displays on the rear windshield of her Chevrolet Lumina, but said it cost her job at a local factory after it angered her boss, Phil Gaddis ...

Bumper Sticker Insubordination
A Kerry fan gets fired, and then hired, for her politics.
By Timothy Noah (Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004)
One of this column's various mandates is to keep track of people who get fired from their jobs solely for holding certain political beliefs. Firing a person because you don't like his or her politics runs contrary to just about everything this country stands for, but it is not against the law ...

Theoretically "Firing a person because you don't like his or her politics" is against the law in Australia, but probably not for much longer. One of the big pushes on now that the Liberal Party (sorta like UK Conservative or US Republican) was returned to government on October 9th with more seats, is "amending" the Unfair Dismissal legislation that the former Labor [sic] Party government brought in. This legislation means you have to give some reasonable cause for sacking someone. By "amending", they basically mean "make inoperative", though as usual there is some cover of words to smooth over the ugly truth.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 06:05 AM:

"You don't get proper fascism until you've lost your first world war."

Vietnam, guy, Vietnam. Haven't you heard that John Kerry and the libruls stabbed the USA in the back?

It's lookin' more and more like the real thing.

Jim Millen ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 06:12 AM:

What the hell? Just checked www.georgewbush.com, and sure enough I can't access it from the UK. What's on there that they don't want the rest of the world to see?

I'm not normally a paranoid person - all this talk of October surprises seems daft to me. However, this website blocking really does indicate something funny is going on.

T. Eckels ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 06:41 AM:

If I were a kid at that school I would have gone in there loaded with Kerry Junk and the card of my civil rights lawer. Let them expell me! I'll take them on and make them scream for mercy!

angelala ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 09:31 AM:

jcler@richland.k12.wi.us - email for John Cler if you prefer to write directly.

Cowicide ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 10:58 AM:

I called the principal. The chickenshit didn't answer his line. I left him a message reminding him this is the United States of America... NOT Iraq and he'd better get with the program.

Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 11:00 AM:

I just spoke to the principal. btw, the area code for the principal is wrong, it's 608 like the rest, not 508.

Basically, the town is a small town (about 5,000 people), but it's in a fairly rural part of Wisconsin. The school audotorium was the only place big enough to hold the rally, so that's where it was held. It was a ticketed event, but students were allowed to go without a ticket, because the principal wanted to give everyone the opportunity to see the president of the U.S. He said that there was a rule that students who were wearing pro-Kerry stuff would not be allowed in the rally, but there was nothing that stated they would be expelled from the school. He said they didn't want protestors or picketing. He also said students were allowed to wear whatever they wanted before and after the event, but if they wanted to go into the audotorium during President Bushie's speech, they'd have to take off pro-Kerry stuff.

I asked, "So, there was nothing stating that they would be expelled if they wore pro-Kerry paraphenilia?", and he said "No, there was not. That would be illegal, and we wouldn't stand for that".

Dustin Ragans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 11:09 AM:

My girlfriend just sent me this message:

Ha ha. I just spoke to the principal. btw, the area code for the principal is wrong, it's 608 like the rest, not 508.

Basically, the town is a small town (about 5,000 people), but it's in a fairly rural part of Wisconsin. The school audotorium was the only place big enough to hold the rally, so that's where it was held. It was a ticketed event, but students were allowed to go without a ticket, because the principal wanted to give everyone the opportunity to see the president of the U.S. He said that there was a rule that students who were wearing pro-Kerry stuff would not be allowed in the rally, but there was nothing that stated they would be expelled from the school. He said they didn't want protestors or picketing. He also said students were allowed to wear whatever they wanted before and after the event, but if they wanted to go into the audotorium during President Bushie's speech, they'd have to take off pro-Kerry stuff.

I asked, "So, there was nothing stating that they would be expelled if they wore pro-Kerry paraphenilia?", and he said "No, there was not. That would be illegal, and we wouldn't stand for that".

There ya go.

Cowicide ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 12:03 PM:


THANK YOU, Ezra!!!!

a ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 12:15 PM:

I actually bothered to use the telephone numbers provided to call the principal. He denied any discipinary action was threatened. He admitted that students wearing pro-Kerry paraphenalia were denied admittance, but this was enforced by the campaign--not the school. The campaign poicy is perverted, but understandable. They "rented" the gymnasium, so they were allowed to enforce their own "security" standards. You can believe the principal or not; I really don't care. But you would be naive to think both parties don't exercise similar campaign policies.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:03 PM:

I think we're in the midst of a he-said-she-said situation, here, and both sides might be losing focus. I called and spoke with John Cler and got the same explanation as Ezra did.

Basically, in small town Wisconsin, the only indoor place you can have a big gathering is the school gymnasium.There are no sports arenas or coliseums or whatever. Think Mayberry here. So the Republicans rented the gym.

According to John Cler, it was rented so the republicans had a right to control what people wore. Students were given the option to go, or they could go to a study hall or something. He said no one was threatened with expulsion.

True or not will be pretty bloody hard to tell, EVER. You're all just going to have to accept that you'll never know a lot of what exactly happened here.

Now, someone can investigate and verify with certainty whether the gymnasium was rented adn whether it was a "private" event and therefore legal for the republicans to control any protests.

But what you do NOT want to do is end up harping about something that simply isn't true. Poeple sitting on the fence in Wisconsin will see that as reason NOT to vote for Kerry.

For what its worth, the reasons given by poeple in wisconsin to explain why they're voting for Bush are based on propaganda saturation. Here are a few.

(1) "Maybe Kerry didn't deserve any of his medals". Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads were successful in planting a seed of doubt. It is always much easier to accuse than it is to defend.

(2) "Kerry is a flip-flopper". Kerry voted for the war but against the funds. It is much easier to simplify the reality than it is to explain all the complexities. Bush threatened to veto the same funding bill, but then decided to let it through. Kerry supported a different bill with less pork.

(3) "Kerry supports abortion." Well, he is against it personally, but doesn't think his religious belief should be forced on the country. Some people DO believe their religious beliefs should be forced on the country.


Now, you can either focus on a single school event that may or may not even be true, or you can focus on the fact that people in the swing state of wisconsin have been inundated with propaganda to the point where they decide "well, there must be SOME truth to it".

Spread the truth, don't further misinformation.

Greg ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:11 PM:

I love it. Everyone freaking out about fascism, and the stupid story is wrong (atleast the part that is important to the ones freaking out).

It is silly that the campaign is restricting anti-bush buttons but I understand why they are doing it.

Lets get back to Ashlee Simpson.

Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:14 PM:

OK, I can't spell. It's "fascists." I went to a public skool, OK?

And speaking of principals and school administrations...when Cady, my 21 year old stepdaughter, was in 6th grade, she wanted to run for a class office (I forget which). The school administration required that the candidate's all preview their speeches (!) before they gave them.

On our advice, Cady wrote and prepared two speeches. One of them to give to the school administration, to frankly fool the bastards. The second one was the one she gave, and it gave the school administration fits.

She won, too, as a result.

School administrations. They suck, each and every one of them.

Jack V. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:17 PM:

So, it appears the main thrust of the story was false. Not surprising, considering the source (a child tells a parent who tells a friend who anonymously emails Kos).

Now there is the matter of the Bush campaign wishing to exclude Kerry buttons, etc. Not overly thrilled about this, but the Kerry campaign does exactly the same thing. (Read about one situation here, here, and here, where Catholic seminarians were told at a Kerry rally that even wearing sweatshirts that said "Dedicated to the defense of all human life" was "considered 'anti-Kerry'.")

Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:26 PM:

The main story didn't pan out. But the story reported by the Des Moines Register, where the kid was threatened with being shot if he asked probing questions, still more than justifies calling them* fascists.

*'them' - the people running the ground-level bits of the Bush campaign, in this case. I also think Bush, Rumsfeld, Ashkroft, Rove, and most of their cadre, as well as most of the "Christian" Right, are worthy of that label, but that's not immediately relevant here, nor is there direct evidence of it in this item or associated links.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 01:30 PM:

Don't kid yourself, it may very well have happened that a kid was threatened with expulsion if they protested the event.

Perhaps some school official was enforcing facism in Bush's favor or simply attempting to keep the kid from causing trouble (I do seem to recall that some kids in high school did cause real trouble at big public events). The superintendant of the school is the wife of someone running for congress on the republican ticket. There may be some truth to the facism accusation. But I doubt we'll ever really know with certainty.

One of the things an objective/emperical person has to deal with is "not knowing".

In the face of not knowing, some democrats will choose to believe that it is facism, and some republicans will choose to believe it was all on the up and up. But in the objective sense, we will really never know what all happened at this event.

My point is to focus on what we can know with certainty. There is plenty of stuff that needs attention that are out and out lies. The SwiftBoat mess for one, the flip-flop propaganda for another.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 02:20 PM:

I talked to a teacher a couple weekends ago

Well, again, the first question is whether this was considered a private event or not. It appears that both sides are excluding the opposition during their campaign stops. So, can either side treat a school venue as a private event and control protests, or is it a public venue? Does a school always get treated as a public venue? or does renting the gymnasium turn it into a private building/private event?

I don't know the answer, but it would seem to be one of the few objective bits of information that could come out of this discussion.

Perhaps if the gymnasium is rented, it can be private, but then students cannot be allowed in for free during school hours or it becomes public.

Neil ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 02:57 PM:

Still think itís extreme to call these people fascists?

A year or more ago, I re-read Mass Psychology of Fascism looking for resistance tips. I didn't find any, but I did learn a lot more about what we're dealing with.
Now, I've just finished George Lakos' Moral Politics (everyone go out and read it now), and I know infinitely more about the rationales erected on the emotional substrate.

The authoritarians are Right. Everything else is Wrong. Therefore, it is the primary duty of everyone who is Right to fight everything which is wrong by any means available.


Yes, the political F-word is uverused and attenuated. In narrower, more precise senses, in particluar psychoanalytically, fascism is precisely what we're dealing with in the Bush White House.

HP ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 04:10 PM:

It appears that both sides are excluding the opposition during their campaign stops.

Really? I haven't heard any stories of Bush supporters being excluded from Kerry events. I've heard stories of Bush supporters making general asses of themselves at Kerry events (airhorns, etc.), and I've heard stories of Bush supporters being jeered and ridiculed and made to feel unwelcome at Kerry events, but if the Kerry campaign is asking people to sign a loyalty oath in order to attend rallies, I'd like to hear about it. If the Kerry campaign is having Bush supporters arrested at rallies, I'd like to hear about that, too.

Jonathan Lassoff ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 04:38 PM:

I figured that I might as well just call the principle of the school and he claims that the Bush campaign simply rented their nice gym for the event, and as a ticketed event, they decided who could come in and who they turned away. He claimed that noone that came even got turned away, let alone expelled. Give the guy a call and find out for yourself. He was totally nice about the whole thing.

Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 04:41 PM:

The georgewbush.com site is "access denied" from here in Germany, too. At a time when the Republicans Abroad site is still crowing that they made the difference in Florida in 2000. Guess gwb.com isn't counting on any late-in-the-day persuadables from overseas...

Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 06:47 PM:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/anniesj/331112.html

Secret Service agents recently visited a teenaged girl and talked with her parents about something she wrote about Bush in her Livejournal. This was apparently the result of a complaint from another LJ member.

This may not be evidence that we're living in a fascist state; but it's a data point worth noting.

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 07:45 PM:

Jenn - Just because the principal denied it (now that's a stunner) doesn't mean that nothing happened. Is a school free to rent a portion of its facilities out for a political rally during school hours? Seems pretty odd to me. Can a school restrict non-disruptive political speech? Even if they could, it's a bad idea.

A candidate can certainly visit a public school, and I would expect they would be honored and make accommodations as needed. But such an event would need to be open to all students, and not restricted based on the students willingness to cheer on the candidate. And it is certainly appropriate for a school to ask its students to behave respectfully, but it is not OK to muzzle them.

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 08:06 PM:

Wow - I just did a "view all by" on the folks to "talked to the principal" and you'll see that there are a whole bunch of drive-by, never-posted-before folks amongst them, including:

"Elizabeth"
"Dustin Ragans"
"Ezra Ekman"
"Cowicide"
"Jack V"
"Jonathan Lassoff"
"Jenn"
"a"

I'm not accusing any of these folks specifically. For all I know, they're lifelong friends of the Nielsen Haydens. But it feels to me like Electrolite has been on the receiving end of a disinformation campaign.

The only first or second-hand presenters of counter-evidence who has been here before are Chuck of The Gumbo Pages and Debbie Notkin who contacted the WI state education authorities.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 08:24 PM:

The only first or second-hand presenters of counter-evidence who has been here before

what am I, chopped liver? ;)

disinformation campaign.

Disinformation is on purpose. This is more a matter of insufficient information and people filling in the gaps in different ways.

Most people do not naturally tend towards agnosticism.

Somebody is lying ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 08:29 PM:

How do we reconcile the account given to Ezra and co. with the multiple posts from Tuesday at DailyKos reporting phone inquiries to the school confirming the story?

If all else is equal, I am more inclined to believe accounts from Tuesday, rather than Wednesday after the school administrators have had a chance to realize they've violated Tinker v. Des Moines and put together an a$$-covering story for public consumption.

Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 08:33 PM:

Strictly in the interests of accuracy, the LiveJournalist in question appears to be in her early twenties, rather than a teenager.

Which doesn't make it any less disgusting that some anonymous reader of her lj decided to harass her and waste the Secret Service's time while they were doing it.

Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 09:13 PM:

I live in a city with about 36,000 people, and the largest auditorium here is at the middle school. It's frequently hired out for artistic performances, but I don't remember anything political. (Of course, we're so conservative that it would be a waste for either candidate to come here.) The city, surrounding county, and George Mason Univ. are going in together to build a big auditorium at the GMU Manassas campus, but that won't be done for a couple of years.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 09:58 PM:

I have a horrible tendancy to ramble. To put it shortly:

Evidence of fascism, loyalty oaths, and supression of dissent will do well to inform the readers of a blog such as this. But in Wisconsin, countering the SwiftBoat propaganda should be the first priority.


Jenn ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 10:21 PM:

Larry,

>>>>Just because the principal denied it (now that's a stunner) doesn't mean that nothing happened.

What are you defining as nothing? I was merely suggesting that it's looking like some (expulsion, for example) of the information in the original post is not true. Correcting the post would be an appropriate thing to do.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 10:42 PM:

(albeit, quoted from Greg London) that disinformation is on purpose

Ezra,

I don't think posting what a student alleged happened in Richland Center is disinformation. Disinformation isn't nearly as careful to explain what it knows as fact, what is allegation, and what is conjecture.

Disinformation, in my opinion, is deliberate lies like the "SwiftBoat" crap.

I have no beef with posting this thread of information. just wanted to clarify.

Greg London

Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 10:57 PM:

Look, I'm sorry if I offended anyone. And, quite frankly, I'm glad to see that you're real, Ezra and Jenn.

Chuck ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 03:30 AM:

Just to chime in again ... the main point I was trying to make (and I'm in the middle of a big email debate with Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing about this) is that charges were made against the principal of the school for allegedly threatening to expel students who dissented at the Bush rally, these charges were not fact-checked, and it's looking as if they're untrue.

He says he didn't make any such threats, and with my close friend Mary having actually spoken to the man (and from some of the other things he said that I didn't repeat), we believe him.

There's a separate point with regards to the inappropriateness of allowing the Bush campaign to violate freedom of speech on a public school campus (I think they should have told BushCo to stuff their rally, but that's easy for me to say), but if there's no concrete proof or substantiation for the primary charge for which the man is being vilified -- that he threatened dissenting students with expulsion -- then we shouldn't be running with that story.

I ran with the story myself, and I wish I had done some fact-checking of my own before posting it, other than simply believing it because Kos posted it. I've learned a lesson today.

I wanted that story to be true, but the more I think about it the more I want the truth to be told, and I don't want another man vilified for something that he quite probably didn't do. That's what makes us better than the other side, isn't it?

Sue J ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 09:24 AM:

Of course, it does look a bit ignorant when this page doesn't spell superintendent correctly.
Having been a high school teacher, I'd guess the truth is somewhere in between "expulsion" and the campaign-rules version. STudents exaggerate, and teachers & admins get overauthoritative.
THanks, Ezra, for going to the source.
Of course, the 'official' version is cheesy enough -- and it's too true that the "loyalty" & flag-waving and repression have gone awfully far down the path towards fascism. Don't know if that version is enough to scare most people, though.

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 10:46 AM:

SueJ, you say some sensible things but this -- "Of course, it does look a bit ignorant when this page doesn't spell superintendent correctly" is just silly. Are you aware that Patrick is a senior editor at a major publishing house? He knows from grammar and spelling.

We all drop the wrong vowel in a word every now and then. An occasional typo does not an ignoramus make.

Quite frankly, I'd rather see Patrick post lots and have an occasional typo now and then, than to post less because he feels he has to obsessively spell check everything first.


-l.

David W. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 12:38 PM:

A fact to note: Supt. Rachel Schultz is the wife of the Republican candidate who is running for the U.S. House in my district here in western Wisconsin What a surprise...

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 01:48 PM:

a US President having "town hall meetings" for which participants are required to sign loyalty oaths

And you're attacking a symptom, not the disease itself.

The disease is SwiftBoat lies portraying Kerry as a liar and a coward, and the disease is Bush portraying an intelligent, thoughtful, reasoned response as a flip-flopper.

A symptom is republican thugs at their campaign rallies.

For middle of the road voters who are leaning towards Bush, if you attack the symptom you will not change their vote. If a Wisconsin voter happens to surf over to this blog, they will not see anything to bring them over to vote for Kerry.

With less than a week to go, Kerry supporters need to focus on the disease of propaganda and lies, not the symptoms of zealotry.

Here's some antibiotics for a cure:
an article by Jim Rassmann (a republican, by the way), the man whose life Kerry saved in Vietnam:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005460

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 01:56 PM:

Jim Rassmann excerpt:

On March 13, 1969, John Kerry's courage and leadership saved my life.

He and his swift boat crew assisted in inserting our Special Forces team and our Chinese Nung soldiers into operational sites in the Cau Mau Peninsula of South Vietnam. I worked with him on many operations and saw firsthand his leadership, courage and decision-making ability under fire.

Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Bush are ... lying about John Kerry's service in Vietnam; ... their lies cut deep and are directed not just at John Kerry, but at me and each of his crewmates as well. This hate-filled ad asserts that I was not under fire; it questions my words and Navy records. This smear campaign has been launched by people without decency, people who don't understand the bond of those who serve in combat.

Google for Jim Rassmann for full details.

Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 06:32 PM:

My experience is 36 years old, but I was suspended twice for "inciting to riot" when I was organizing our school's contingent to march on the Pentagon against the Viet Nam war. My mother figured I knew the consequences, so was able to make my own decisions on things like that, although she helped hide them from my father who was already quite violent.

(And then when we were transferred to Virginia Beach, I got suspended twice there for what I at the time considered free speech issues. As an adult, I don't really think girls should be able to discommode the boys by wearing halter tops and short shorts. I still think the Viet Nam wasr was wrong.)

Jenn ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 07:36 PM:

Larry, et al:

I think I'm more offended that there seems to be a whiff of people thinking I'd vote for Bush, than anything else.

As for if I'm real or not, I most assuredly am. I will say I do not like being treated with suspicion until I've given a reason for it. Discourse is not a reason.

Karen ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 01:45 AM:

I wish to spread my protest idea. If wearing anti-Republican, anti-Bush buttons, signs and t-shirts is not allowed, there is still a way to make your protest known to Bush. The streets outside the venues where he visits have crowds of people there to flag-wave and show support.

So, go. Go in groups. Bring your friends. Get a whole lot of people together. Stand on the sides. And Turn Your Back On Bush. The image of his limo passing blocks of people who refuse to look at him is incredibly heartening, isn't it? The whole idea is simple, memorable, unstoppable.

McDuff ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 02:04 AM:

I don't think it's unreasonable to call some in the Bush administration Fascists, but I think it is unreasonable to call them Nazis.

I have shied away from the F-word for a long time, preferring to use "authoritarian anti-intellectual nationalists." This is, of course, as near to the definition of fascism as you can get in a sentence, but when using loaded words we need to be careful to be painfully exact so as to avoid being contaminated by hyperbole.

So, to state the views clearly: The Bush Adminstration is not a fascist organisation. It contains people who are not fascists. It also, however, contains people who are, including the guy right at the top.

Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 06:10 AM:

It would have been wholly impressive behavior if the principal had told Bush-Cheney sure, you can rent our gym, but you can't restrict our students from the event: if they want to show up wearing Kerry badges/t-shirts, you still have to let them in.

Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 04:36 PM:

A pro-bush voter I spoke with recently served in Vietnam and claimed that he doubted Kerry could have won 3 purple hearts in 4 short months. More SwiftBoat crap taking hold. I didn't know waht to say at the time. But I was reading Jim Rassmann's description of what happened, and for the first time, I read the importance of this line:

"He and his swift boat crew assisted in inserting our Special Forces team and our Chinese Nung soldiers into operational sites in the Cau Mau Peninsula of South Vietnam."

It's a mouthful, but boiling down the military jargon results in something to this effect:

John Kerry's mision was to take Special Forces teams up the river on combat missions into hot zones in enemy territory.

This is the kind of mission that was portrayed in "Apocalypse Now". Kerry had the role played by Lawrence Fishburne. Rassmann had the role played by Martin Sheen.

Regardless of whether the movie was out of whack with the big realities of Vietnam, the kind of fire-storms that boat crew went through seemed pretty reasonable.

Given four months of this kind of hell, three purple hearts seems a few medals short.

Maybe Kerry supporters could start movie parties with clips of Apocalypse Now for Kerry's service, followed by clips of Barney Fife from Mayberry for Bush's service.

hm, to be fair, I think "I dream of Genie" would be a more accurate portrayal of Bush. An airforce pilot, always getting himself into trouble and Dick Cheney dressed up in a belly dancer outfit, twinkling his nose to get Bush out of trouble.

Come on, people, this is good material.
Somebody call JibJab.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 01:03 AM:
Tribune editor breaks long silence on Kerry record; fought in disputed battle

by Tim Jones

The commander of a Navy swift boat who served alongside Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry during the Vietnam War stepped forward Saturday to dispute attacks challenging Kerry's integrity and war record.

William Rood, an editor on the Chicago Tribune's metropolitan desk, said he broke 35 years of silence about the Feb. 28, 1969, mission that resulted in Kerry's receiving a Silver Star because recent portrayals of Kerry's actions published in the best- selling book "Unfit for Command" are wrong and smear the reputations of veterans who served with Kerry.

Rood, who commanded one of three swift boats during that 1969 mission, said Kerry came under rocket and automatic weapons fire from Viet Cong forces and that Kerry devised an aggressive attack strategy that was praised by their superiors. He called allegations that Kerry's accomplishments were "overblown" untrue.

"The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there," Rood said in a 1,700-word first-person account published in Sunday's Tribune.

[more]

This is what I saw that day

by William B. Rood

There were three swift boats on the river that day in Vietnam more than 35 years ago--three officers and 15 crew members. Only two of those officers remain to talk about what happened on February 28, 1969.

One is John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate who won a Silver Star for what happened on that date. I am the other.

For years, no one asked about those events. But now they are the focus of skirmishing in a presidential election with a group of swift boat veterans and others contending that Kerry didn't deserve the Silver Star for what he did on that day, or the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts he was awarded for other actions.

Many of us wanted to put it all behind us--the rivers, the ambushes, the killing. Ever since that time, I have refused all requests for interviews about Kerry's service--even those from reporters at the Chicago Tribune, where I work.

But Kerry's critics, armed with stories I know to be untrue, have charged that the accounts of what happened were overblown. The critics have taken pains to say they're not trying to cast doubts on the merit of what others did, but their version of events has splashed doubt on all of us. It's gotten harder and harder for those of us who were there to listen to accounts we know to be untrue, especially when they come from people who were not there.

[more]

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 01:46 PM:

Anybody have an opinion on schools as polling places - school in session or classes canceled? with whatever the electioneering at polling places rules might be applied to students?

Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2004, 11:21 AM:

If I go to Washington to Turn My Back on Bush, will I be the only one to add that great Klingon arm-jive to it? (A simultaneous breast-beat with both arms, timed so that the thump pretty much coÔncides with being turned all the way around.)