Sign of the Times; Reader hopes for my death following posts on Courtney, Himes and anti-Syrian Immigrant vote
Congressman Jim Himes, Congressman Joe Courtney, CTNewsjunkie, Hartford Courant\, Immigration, Wait What? Congressman Jim Himes, Congressman Joe Courtney, CTNewsjunkie, Hartford Courant, Immigration, Wait What? 7 Comments
Certainly it must have been written in jest….
Maybe it was not meant so much as a threat, but simply a reminder that the tenor of public discourse continues to spiral downward as our society, increasingly torn and tattered by the political and economic environment, unraveling around us.
Following the United States House of Representatives’ passage of legislation designed to delay and derail the ability of Syrian immigrants to come to the United States, I posted two commentary pieces at Wait, What?.
The first took Connecticut Democratic Congressmen Joe Courtney and Jim Himes to task for being among the 47 Democrats to join the House Republicans voting in favor of the bill, Congressman Courtney and Himes – You have brought shame on our nation and our state, I can no longer support you (Wait, What? Friday, 11/20/15), while the second sought to provide readers with the facts about how the U.S. refugee system really works PLEASE take a moment to review the facts about the U.S. Syrian refugee issue (Wait, What? Saturday, 11/21/15).
CT Newsjunkie, a website dedicated to providing people with Connecticut news and a wide range of commentary was kind enough to include a link to the first blog in their “Friday Night Fix!” email highlighting the week’s news and providing suggested reading material for the weekend.
For their part, the Hartford Courant’s CapitolWatch Tweeted a link to the blog with,
“You have brought shame on our nation:”@jonathanpelto disappointed in Rep. Courtney’s vote on Syrian refugee bill.”
A Hartford Courant editor turned to his own Twitter Account to add,
A significant number of readers responded to the two Wait, What? Blog posts, some added their opinions by commenting on the What, What? Blog while others communicated by email.
The range of opinions was extensive. People have strong feelings about issues like immigration. This blog has thoughtful readers across the political spectrum and while some of the comments and emails were harsh, none could be defined as abusive or threatening.
And then Sunday night came a comment from a reader who apparently resides in Fairfield County and wrote, among other things;
I have actively campaigned against Jim Himes, and I have proudly voted against him in the last two elections. I now congratulate Jim Himes for his sensible vote, and I gladly invite all you stupid libtards to consume my feces.
Hey Jon, I’m talking to you — polish my nutsack. Hope you meet the same fate as Chris Stevens!
The reference to the “same fate as Chris Stevens!” appears to be to the killing of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who was murdered, along with others, in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2012 at the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
Conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham has claimed that the body of Ambassador Stevens was “dragged through the street,” while other conservative commentators have said he was also sexually assaulted, before being murdered. Both claims were determined to be untrue by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, an Accountability Review Board that investigated the Benghazi attack, and by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Of course, let’s face it, there is no doubt that a blog comment like that is meant as a joke, perhaps nothing more than a very colorful way to articulate opposition to my commentary pieces.
Besides, this is the United States of America where the Freedom of Speech is the cornerstone of our form of government, which, in turn, is the greatest experiment in an open, egalitarian, large-scale democracy in human history.
In the United States, we don’t kill people because of what they say or write.
Well there was Alan Berg, the Denver talk show host who was gunned down in his driveway, but that was thirty-one years ago and besides that was different, he was assassinated by a White, neo-Nazi, right-wing extremist group because he was liberal, Jewish and known for his outspoken and acerbic commentary. (Ah… Well… Let’s just say it was a long time ago and leave it at that.)
As noted, people just don’t kill bloggers and commentators because they don’t like what they say and write.
True, four bloggers and a publisher have been killed in Bangladesh this year, but that’s different.
Bangladeshi-born US writer Avijit Roy, founder of secular Bangla blog site Muktomona, was hacked to death on February 26, 2015 as he was leaving a university book fair.
Oyeshekur Rahman Babu, a writer and blogger, was chopped to death in central Dhaka on March 30, 2015.
Science writer and blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was killed in a similar attack in north-eastern city of Sylhet on May 12, 2015
On August 7, 2015 attackers entered the apartment of blogger Niladri Chattapadhay and chopped him to death.
And Faysal Arfin Deepon, whose company had published Avijit Roy’s work was stabbed him to death in his office on October 31, 2015
But those killings didn’t occur in the United States, all four were murdered in Bangladesh by Islamist militants with links to al-Qaeda.
And while there have been similar attacks in other parts of the world, they all took place somewhere “over there.”
According to Reporters without Boarders, not counting the hundreds of journalists who have been killed as a result of their reporting over the past couple of years, at least 215 bloggers have been murdered and more than 250 more have been imprisoned for the their crime of commenting on the news and the world around them.
Syria, whose refugees have become the focal point of the anti-immigrant rhetoric has seen the largest number of bloggers murdered over the past two years, a total of at least 72 individuals.
However, assassinations of bloggers have also occurred in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh Brazil, Mexico and elsewhere.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Mexican activist and video blogger José Luis Rodríguez Muñiz posted a commentary critical of his the region’s Governor, Mayor and politicians calling them “bola de ratas” (or “Ball Rats” in English.) Hours later he was shot to death by unidentified gunmen.
But this is the United States,
We’re different… In our country, people are allowed to speak their minds.
I mean, I’m sure the comment posted to Wait, What? was meant as a joke and how dangerous can a joke be?
Heck, even Donald Trump was probably joking when suggesting My Fans Were Right To Beat Up Black Protester
After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing.
The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.
Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”
Yeah, it’s probably all a big joke.
Wait What? is dedicated to informing readers about the truth enveloping policy and politics in Connecticut.
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Again, the link to donate is: https://fundly.com/wait-what-needs-your-support
These are indeed difficult time.
With so many important causes to support and so little extra money for donations, many people have to pick and choose who will get the scarce resources.
While thousands visit Wait, What? every day, only 39 people have made donations to the cause during this Fall’s Wait, What? fundraising effort.
Together these incredible people have donated $3,240 or about 65% of the goal – with only five days left in this round of fundraising.
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I certainly want to keep Wait, What? going, but to do that I really need your help.
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Education Advocate and Investigative Blogger
Wait, What? is dedicated to informing readers about the truth enveloping policy and politics in Connecticut. If you believe Wait, What? plays in important role, please donate so we can continue our mission.
Since January 2012, a total of 2,124 articles have been posted to Wait, What? Together they have generated more than 1.8 million hits making the blog one of the most read commentary sites in Connecticut.
Dedicated to revealing the truth about the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s attack on public schools and holding elected officials accountable for their actions, What,What? has been the first to report on a variety of key issues and has provided vital background on some of the most critically important policy and political issues that have arisen in recent years.
However, without greater reader support, What, What? simply can’t continue to play the role it has over the past four and a half years.
If you read Wait, What? If you believe the information provided is helpful and important to get into the public domain, please make as generous contribution as you can.
If Wait, What? is driven by a single concept it can be found in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said,
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.“
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Yesterday a number of corporate funded charter school advocacy groups joined Governor Dannel Malloy in support of his plan to dramatically increase charter school funding while making historic cuts to funding for public schools.
For coverage see: The Hartford Courant’s Charter School Lobbying: Where Is Money Coming From? and CT Mirror’s Aggressive charter school campaign descends on the Capitol.
Anyway you look at it, the corporate education reform industry has deep pockets.
Just last September, Peter Cunningham, the former PR guy for U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, rolled out a new organization called Education Post.
The cornerstone of the project is a pro-corporate education reform industry blog called The Conversation, its purpose being to counter the work of Diane Ravitch and the more than 230 other pro-public education bloggers around the nation.
The initial grants to get the new pro-common core, pro-charter school, pro-education reform effort off the ground totaled at least $12 million. The money came from the Eli Broad Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Walton Family Foundation and a generous anonymous donor.
At the time, the president of the Broad Foundation, Richard Reed, explained to the Washington Post that,
“The idea for Education Post originated with his organization but that other philanthropic groups had recognized the need years ago.
‘We had a shared disappointment in the tenor of the debate,’ said Reed, a former chief of staff to Vice President Biden and former chief executive of the Democratic Leadership Council.”
Reed went on to add that the new blog was stepping in to help support the discussion surrounding education policy because,
“Administrators, school leaders and teachers have papers to grade, schools to run, and they don’t have time to get out and talk about this…This is an effort to help spread information about what works both inside the field and outside.”
Howard Wolfson, who served as a co-chief strategist to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and a senior adviser to Ned Lamont’ senate campaign in Connecticut is also an adviser to Bloomberg Philanthropies. Discussing the purpose of the new education reform blog, Wolfson said,
“There hasn’t really been an organization dedicated to sharing the successes of education reform around the country…You have local success, but it isn’t amplified elsewhere. And there is a lot of success. There is also an awful lot of misperception around what ed reform is, and there hasn’t been an organization . . . focused on correcting those misimpressions.”
Here in Connecticut, charter school advocates have, from time to time, raised the questions about who funds Wait, What?
Last year a pro-charter school blogger wrote, “How Much Money Does Jon Pelto Really Make for Attacking School Principals?” The blogger added,
“Who does Jon Pelto think he’s kidding?
When Rick Green over at the Hartford Courant’s Capitol Watch blog asked Pelto who pays the bills, the not-precisely-accurate ex-politician’s response was laughable.
“Pelto said he raises about $7,000 annually to pay for his blog,” Green wrote.
Don’t believe it for a second. No fewer than three times a day, seven days a week, Pelto posts haranguing attacks on our governor, education commissioner, school superintendents and principals.
Each one of those posts is hundreds, sometimes thousands of words in length.
And he does it for free? Yeah, excuse me while I have a laughing fit in the corner.
For example, when Pelto was lamely and ineffectually attacking principal and magnet school founder Steve Perry for sending tweets, he decided that Perry’s tweeting had cost the city “well in excess of $10,000.”
How he arrived at that figure, no one knows. But now that he’s made it up, he repeats it as fact every chance he gets.”
Now that it turns out that a blog dedicated to promoting the education reform industry received $12 million in grants just to get going, I can certainly appreciate the Connecticut bloggers disbelief that there are people out here who actually care enough to write about education policy and politics without making hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But the truth is that Wait, What? – like all the individual pro-public education blogs that I know of – receive no funding at all, or, at best, collect small contributions from readers.
Over the past year, Wait, What? has received about $10,000 and, for the record, none of that money came from unions, political action committees or other advocacy groups.
Not that I would turn down contributions from people who like and support the blog and its mission, but truth be told, the anti-common core, anti-common core testing and anti-Governor Malloy posts have apparently made the blog somewhat of a pariah when it comes to the attitude of the national and state teachers’ unions.
Note to self: “If you want to collect donations from teachers’ unions, don’t criticize them and definitely don’t criticize the candidates they support.”
That said, towing the “party line” probably wouldn’t have resulted in a $12 million donation.
In any case, although the notion of making big bucks is very tempting, if readers ever type in the Wait, What? website url and the site is shut down, you still probably won’t find me writing for the education reform industry’s blog — The Conversation — although even a fraction of that $12 million would go a long way toward paying the bills.
And remember, As George Orwell said,
In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
Oh and if you do want to contribute to Wait, What? click on the following link;
Important – Massive Common Core opt-out movement continues to grow in New York State and Connecticut parents are standing up for their children as well
Spring Wait,What? Fundraising Request
Despite these difficult economic times, more than 75 readers donated to help support Wait, What? earlier this year during the winter 2015 fundraising drive.
Since its inception in January 2011, Wait What’s 2,200 plus blog posts have attracted nearly 2 million visits and produced more than 25,000 comments.
Visitors who just come to read and learn are welcome, but a special thank you goes out to those who have provided the financial support that has allowed Wait, What? to become a leading examples of the role investigative blogging and independent journalism can play in helping to educate, persuade and mobilize people to stand up and speak out about the important issues of our time.
And we have just begun the fight!
Revealing the truth and holding the powerful accountable will remain the vital role of this blog.
While the reality of financial security remains out of reach for many, whatever financial support readers could provide would be extremely helpful as I continue to strive to use Wait, What? as an important platform for providing news and commentary.
You can donate on-line by following this link: https://fundly.com/spring-2015-wait-what-fundraising-request
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Contributions are not tax-deductible, but they go a very long way toward help with the maintenance of Wait, What?
As always, thanks so much…
And a special thank you to all of those who have already donated to the effort.
To donate on-line go to: https://fundly.com/spring-2015-wait-what-fundraising-request
Please read and re-read, pass on the ones you think deserve more attention
With the massive Common Core SBAC Testing scam about to swallow up Connecticut’s children and public schools, a disastrous proposed state budget having been put forward by Governor Dannel “REqad My Lips” Malloy and a special state senate election in Bridgeport featuring the darling of the charter school industry, the disgraced Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr, the Wait, What? blog has been blaze with activity and extra posts and comments.
If you haven’t had time to review some of the recent blog posts, please take a moment to read up about the developments that are taking place around us.
Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Test
***** Sample opt out letter for Connecticut parents *****
Malloy’s State Budget Plan:
Malloy budget targets most vulnerable among us (By Sarah Darer Littman)
The real story surrounding the Special State Senate Election in Bridgeport
Other key issues including the Achievement First Inc Charter School Money Grab in New Haven
Without A Net – The challenge of learning in chaos (By Wendy Lecker)