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Blog of Mass Destruction

Taking Back Country By Banning Books

By The Reverend Published: July 17, 2013

(Former Indiana GOP Governor Mitch) Daniels, an economic conservative with strong approval ratings in his home state, had been encouraged to run by members of the GOP establishment who have been concerned about the quality of the 2012 presidential field. Daniels made his name in Indiana as a cost-conscious governor who experimented in privatizing government services, including the delivery of welfare benefits and the construction of highways.

If you remember, quite a few Republicans wanted Indiana's popular Governor Mitch Daniels to run for President.

CBS....

Daniels is a rising star, a former adviser to President Reagan, and President George W. Bush's director of the Office of Management and Budget.

How many times have you heard the phrase "rising star" attributed to GOP presidential wannabes? Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Ted Kruz, Mike Lee......all "rising stars" in the GOP. In 2011, the GOP "rising star" of the month was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Ah...those great early days of the 2012 GOP primaries.....when Donald Trump and Herman 9-9-9 Cain wrestled briefly for front runner billing in the GOP primary road show.

Anyhoo...Mitch Daniels was Tea Party before Tea Party was cool. This is Mitch Daniels major "accomplishment" as Indiana governor.....

The Indiana voucher program, passed by the Legislature in 2011, is the most sweeping in the nation and the biggest test yet of the conservative Republican idea that giving families choice creates a greater incentive for public schools to improve. Unlike voucher programs in other states, which are limited to poor families and failing school districts, the Indiana program is open to a much broader range of people, including parents with household incomes of up to nearly $64,000 for a family of four.

Translation: Mitch Daniels sought to drain monies from public schools by redistributing public money to private schools through an expanded voucher program. The goal of the most expansive school voucher program in the country was to eventually gut public schools and eliminate the teachers union. Sure, in the USA Today piece the explanation for the massive expansion of school vouchers is to "create a greater incentive for public schools to improve".....but that doesn't make much, if any, sense....at least to me.

Daniels is currently president of Purdue University.....which you'll find to be ironic in a moment. When hired for the Purdue job, Daniels "pledged to promote academic freedom."

One person's "academic freedom", I guess, is another person's "book banning".....

Emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show Daniels requested that historian and anti-war activist Howard Zinn's writings be banned from classrooms and asked for a "cleanup" of college courses. In another exchange, the Republican talks about cutting funding for a program run by a local university professor who was one of his sharpest critics.

Reread that paragraph if the shock hasn't worn off yet. Touted as a leading candidate for the GOP presidential primary, hired as the president of Purdue, a leading research university, pledged to do nothing but promote "academic freedom" while president of Purdue.....was, and still is, actively censoring and "book burning", as it were, publications Mitch Daniels disagrees with.

Here's the meat of the Daniels censorship campaign....

In a rapid exchange of emails between top state education officials on Feb. 9, 2010, including then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, Daniels sought assurance that a Zinn book exploring historical events that Zinn said got little attention was removed from Indiana classrooms.

"This terrible anti-American academic has finally passed away," Daniels wrote. "The obits and commentaries mentioned his book, `A People's History of the United States,' is the `textbook of choice in high schools and colleges around the country.' It is a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page.

"Can someone assure me that it is not in use anywhere in Indiana? If it is, how do we get rid of it before more young people are force-fed a totally false version of our history?"

It may not seem odd to some folks for a GOP leader who's touted for his dedication to education and academic freedom to be calling for censorship.....but it sure as hell is....odd.

Howard Zinn died in 2010 after having written numerous books, the most popular being "A People's History of the United States." Zinn had a nasty habit of using actual historical facts while explaining the history of our country. He was one of the first academics to openly oppose the long crime of the Vietnam war. Zinn loved his country, warts and all....but would not allow himself to succumb to the fantasy of "American exceptionalism."

For that differing view, former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, now as president of Purdue University.....wants Howard Zinn's books banned from Indiana schools.

Must be because of freedom, right?

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