This is a blog of populist and liberal information and ideas, advancing the cause of truth and justice while fighting the ugly tyranny of right-wing oppression in Oklahoma and its surrounding environs.

Historic Blundering

Image of Two Boys in Front of a Tipi from the National Archives

--From the National Archives

(Think about a zoo. Okapi are the coolest creatures and giraffes often like to stick their necks out like I do. What about Achara, the cutest baby elephant roaming in Oklahoma right now? Read DocHoc’s ambiguous take on the Oklahoma City Zoo in tomorrow’s irreverent and biting The Lost Ogle.)

Western Europeans colonized what is now known as the United States, murdered many of the indigenous people already living here, removed them from their land under the term “settlement” and then to this day has discriminated against them because of basic hatred and bigotry.

Through the 19th century, Africans, such as the Igbo in Nigeria, were kidnapped and tortured, ripped from their families, placed on ships and brought primarily to the southern United States to work as slaves on cotton plantations so white “settlers” could increase their wealth. It is well documented some of the slaves were lynched for trying to run away or whipped ruthlessly for any supposed transgression against the cruelest institution ever devised and perpetuated by humankind.

All of this was done primarily under the then-moral strictures of Christianity.

After the native people were removed from their lands and slavery ended in the 19th century, the United States went through an extended period of 100 years or so when non-white people were systematically denied basic rights and economic opportunities.

Some people would argue, and I’m one of them, that although the Civil Rights era in the 1950s and 1960s brought much legal protection to non-white, straight people, systemic institutional bigotry continues full force in the United States. Black and Hispanic people are profiled by police and, in some notorious cases, still legally killed or tortured. Legalized discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community—again defended by Christian values—continues in full force here in the United States despite recent advances and the increasing number of states that allow same-sex marriage.

As much as we want to believe the United States' first president George Washington was almost godly in all his majesty or its third president Thomas Jefferson was a first-rate intellectual genius, each one of these great American mythical figures owned slaves. As much as we want to believe the country’s so-called “Greatest Generation,” who defeated the monster Hitler in World War II is sacrosanct, they did so for an immoral western Europe, for institutions such as the British Empire, which had for centuries exploited and committed vast atrocities throughout the world. What about Belgium’s activities in Africa’s Congo basin, alone, from the late 19th century through the 1960s, which were horrific? Some scholars argue millions of native people were killed and enslaved in the ivory and rubber trade.

We can assume it’s these facts and ideas that concern some Oklahoma lawmakers , predominately Republican, who want to do away with Advanced Placement history classes in our schools because they supposedly do not stress American exceptionalism enough. The Oklahoma House Education Committee voted 11 to 4 to pass the bill this week. The bill will surely eventually die or get rewritten in the legislative process, but its philosophical implications are enormous on an existential level. It’s the eradication of truth about the eradication of people.

The United States, now the world’s largest military power, has done some good in the world, but it has its own sordid and, yes, evil history, and its overall international policies have absolutely never ever been completely based on altruistic grounds.

Studying history is not about stressing greatness in one’s own country, although there’s nothing wrong with learning about real heroes or kind deeds committed by dedicated, moral people. It’s about intellectual discovery and curiosity. It’s about finding the truth in a sea of competing arguments. It’s about trying to interpret facts that are sometimes murky. It’s about, and some academic historians might disagree with me, advancing our culture and shining the light of enlightenment on the dark shadows of ignorance and hatred.

The bill, introduced by Republican Dan Fisher of El Reno, will dumb down our students to say the least, but in this particular legislative session that seems to be the least of anyone’s worries. The state faces a growing budget shortfall of more than $600 million, a major teacher shortage and a myriad of health issues and poor medical outcomes. More tax cuts for the rich?

Senator Jim, Please Stop Making Oklahoma Look So Bad

Image of Jim Inhofe Inhofe Already

(I apologize in advance for the following Monday morning meltdown in the last paragraph. But, hey, be sure to catch my Thursday post this week in The Lost Ogle, especially all you zoologists, okapi experts and bat-eared foxes.)

When will U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe call it quits and just stick to basic, local constituency issues?

Oklahoma’s 80-year-old senior Senator is widely and jokingly known around the world for calling the science of global warming a “hoax” and for citing Biblical evidence for his unscientific views.

Now he’s waving around photographs and blasting Russia for its continuing involvement in Ukraine, but the photographs aren’t authentic in the sense in which he presented them, and he simply just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Why can’t he just work at getting more jobs at Tinker Air Force Base or more federal highway improvement money for Oklahoma? Why does he have to present himself on the world stage as some major player in global affairs and the global environment?

Inhofe’s latest embarrassment is outlined here in this excellent article in The New York Times. To simplify it, Inhofe gave a Senate presentation in which he used inauthentic photographs showing Russia’s “current” military involvement in Ukraine. Some of the photographs, which were supposed to prove recent military action, date back to 2008. He also “revealed some apparent confusion about the mechanics of digital photography,” as the article notes. In other words, he didn’t seem to know you could just get on the ol’ Internets by cracky and check out the accuracy and dates and specifics about images or even old timey photographs.

The local media here needs to hold Inhofe more accountable for these types of actions. They hurt our state’s image, and Inhofe, as I mentioned earlier, needs to stick to local advocacy and focus on the smaller things that could benefit the state.

Please, Jim, let other people—even other Republicans—deal with geopolitics and climate change. You’ve had your say. We get it. We know where you’re coming from. Your opinions are obviously OUT THERE already. They are on the Internet, in books, on television, on radio. Stop making the state look so bad. Stop. Please. Stop. I’m begging you. Please.

When Will The Local Mainstream Media Give Credit When Due? Never

Artis struisvogel leest krant van oppasser / Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker

I hope you caught my inaugural post in The Lost Ogle yesterday in which I laid out the coming financial downfall of Oklahoma and, sadly, in particular, the Oklahoma City area because we fracked our way into a mess and forgot we live on a planet with other countries and people.

Shortly after the post was published, state officials announced the state's coming budget shortfall has been doubled to more than $600 million. I DO think this number will rise.

Here's an excerpt from the post, published in Oklahoma City's most popular and irreverent blog:

Drill, baby, drill, has been the conservative mantra for “energy independence” from the world and freedom for people to drive Hummers again without embarrassment for displaying their “wasty ways”, as American novelist James Fenimore Cooper’s character Natty Bumppo would describe it. Yet drill, baby, drill, has put Oklahoma at risk once again. Drill, baby, drill? Why are we bringing “babies” into this muddle of geopolitics and neo-American colonialism? How about, drill, wasps, drill?

Here's the link to the entire post. I know it's a long post. It rambles. It meanders. It contains obscure references to serious literary figures and significant old rock songs. It's "wordy," people, yes, "wordy." Basically, it's your typical DocHoc train wreck of playfulness, frustration and, well, stirring up trouble by speaking truth to power. But can only power speak truth to power?

I really want to hear what you think about my new collaboration with TLO. Comment about it on Okie Funk's Facebook site.

But one thing I also want to point out today is that this little inconsequential blog, Okie Funk, predicted on Feb. 2 the state would eventually face a $1 billion budget shortfall because of oil field layoffs and declining gross production tax revenues. I hope it doesn't get that bad, but, for now, I'm sticking by that number. I think I win the you-were-right cigar at this point, anyway.

What's incredibly amazing is that that the mainstream media here and those brilliant "think" tanks that have done so much to help our state in recent years completely ignored this prediction and just regurgitated "experts"--basically themselves talking to each other--that said oil prices were going to rebound and all would be well.

This is the problem with the mainstream media here and the think tanks and the self-proclaimed experts. They are insular and afraid and arrogant. They either exist only for profit or themselves. The funny thing about the mainstream media profiteers is that you can actually make loads of money with truthful, irreverent reporting that is honest and true, but they won't do it because they are stuck in old timey models of journalism and boring rhetorical formats developed in the nineteenth century. The think tanks just become about writing their bland "reports" or "studies" that do nothing but quantify the obvious, and even then they won't step out of the boxes. They are about sustaining themselves as organizations, not helping people or making this a better place.

The Lost Ogle and this little blog that's only been around since 2004 tell it like it is whether you like the style or not, and the mainstream media and the think tanks don't even have the decency to acknowledge it's reporting information that's, really, old news. TLO had it first or Okie Funk said it two weeks ago. That's the way it goes these days.

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