As we've mentioned now and then, our 10th-grade homeschooling textbook, World History and Cultures In Christian Perspective, is very much a product of the Reagan era; even though its most recent version was published in 2010, it maintains the aggrieved tone of the Moral Majority types who helped Reagan come to power. There are some changes; for instance, the longish section on Grenada we discussed last week is down to a short paragraph (which still insists that the island was definitely going to be used as a base for a Cuban invasion of South America). Mostly, though, the textbook still allows us to see the world through a Cold War lens -- even when it talks about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The textbook deals with the Iran-Contra scandal, which some people seem to think was kind of a big deal, by simply not mentioning it at all. Rather than try to explain how a heroic Army Marine colonel helped his President subvert the will of a Congress which had foolishly banned aid to the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers, World History doesn't even bother, although it does blandly mention that Reagan "armed the Contra freedom fighters of Nicaragua in their fight against the Sandinistas." It also notes that Reagan "sent military advisers to El Salvador to prevent a Communist takeover there," without any troublesome mention of dead nuns (who were both Papists and supporters of communistic "liberation theology" anyway).

We were slightly surprised to see that the 2010 edition actually made some major cuts in the section on the Soviet shootdown of KAL Flight 007; the 1997 version takes up a third of a page, and takes pains to name Georgia Rep. Larry McDonald as one of the dead, noting his anticommunist credentials without actually suggesting, as one conspiracy theory has it, that the 747 was shot down because he was on it. The newer edition shoehorns three sentences on KAL 007 into a section on "Communist Tragedies," mostly about Chernobyl, and doesn't even mention McDonald. It also, surprisingly, removes the previous version's petulant line complaining that "the incident was treated by the world media as an 'accident.'" This is probably a big letdown to some conservatives, considering that McDonald was a past president of the John Birch Society; the Conservapedia entry on McDonald memorializes him as "the only member of Congress killed by Communists during the Cold War."*

Needless to say, we learn about Ronald Reagan's bold vision for the Strategic Defense Initiative, regarding which the textbook approvingly quotes Margaret Thatcher's memoir:

"President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, about which the Soviets and Mr. Gorbachev were already so alarmed, was to prove central to the West’s victory in the Cold War."

Which is a pretty impressive achievement for a program that spent a few hundred billion dollars without ever deploying an actual weapons system. Liberals, the damn fools, "insisted that this defensive laser weaponry technology was unreliable...and criticized the expense, despite the growing nuclear threat from the Soviets and terrorists alike." Of course, the lasers never even got beyond the conceptual stage (the very limited, unreliable missile defenses that grew out of SDI all used rockets) and terrorists are not noted for having ballistic missiles. Almost any threat is proof for missile defense -- we recall that on 9/11, we heard some genius citing the attack as compelling evidence for the need to support President Bush's proposal for more missile defense spending. And not a single dollar was wasted, because "Reagan had now equipped the American military with technological

marvels that the faltering Soviet economy could not match." Yay, expensive imaginary weapons systems!

Mikhail Gorbachev's attempts to reform the Soviet system through glasnost and perestroika are presented as a cynical ploy to buy time for the failing Evil Empire so it could regroup and then destroy the west:

The Communists’ change in tactics showed their desperation; they were adopting Lenin’s advice: "It is necessary sometimes to take one step backward so we may take two steps forward." .... However, the Communists had not yet conceded defeat, but rather, they realized their weakness and hoped to catch up and surpass the free world at a future date. As a result, the Communists loosened their control over Eastern Europe in order to get money and technology from the United States and Western Europe.

Sneaky! But then, of course, once Soviet control of Eastern Europe weakened, things snowballed; the book's discussion of the end of communism is actually relatively straightforward. There are some weird omissions, like no mention at all of Vaclav Havel in the section on Czechoslovakia; perhaps he was simply not religious enough. And while the book notes that Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were executed by angry Romanians, the editors don't even mention that while Ceausescu was a ruthless dictator, he also pursued a "pro family" agenda and even banned abortion and contraception. You'd think that would win him some points with these guys.

And so we have the end of the USSR, and Tienanmen Square, where the Chinese government finally behaves the way the editors expect: "thousands of people were killed or imprisoned. The world was once again reminded of the real face of Communism." Oddly, beyond suggesting that Gorbachev was trying to lull the West into complacency, the editors have no explanation for why the crowds of pro-democracy demonstrators in Eastern Europe weren't similarly crushed; apparently those nations' leaders were not "true communists" after all. The section closes with a bit of celebration, but also with a warning, like those monster movies that put a question mark after "The End":

The collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union was the greatest political event of the late 20th century. The political, economic, and moral failure of Communism was finally exposed to the world. But Communism was far from dead. Communists still ruled in China, the world’s most populous nation, and Communists still troubled many other countries in the world, including many of the former Soviet republics. Indeed, Christians in Russia reported that Communists still controlled events in Russia, and many conservatives noted that the beginnings of Glasnost and Perestroika were rooted in Lenin’s advice of "one step backward, two steps forward."

And, considering that the book's final chapter still warns of "the continuing threat of communism," maybe the editors want to suggest that the whole "end of the USSR" is just one more sneaky trick by the commies, who are just waiting for the chance to come roaring back.

*Of course, according to Conservapedia, McDonald didn't die in the crash of KAL 007. In their version, the stricken plane successfully crash-landed and most passengers, including McDonald, survived. They were then imprisoned and tortured by the USSR; any who didn't die in prison are still being held by the Russians today. Because why would anything ever happen the way the Lamestream Media reports it?

Next Week: The End of History! New World Order! The UN still exists! Be afraid!

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Republicans are devouring each other's carcasses, and we are here for it! Especially when one of those Republicans is King Kris of the Kansas Votefucker Klan ... errr, Clan! It's been a week since Kansans cast their votes in the gubernatorial primary, and the GOP looks to be rolling up its sleeves for a slugfest.

As we type, Kobach leads by 298 votes out of more than 314,000 cast -- a whopping 0.00095 percent, if you round up! The Kansas GOP begged Donald Trump to stay out of the race and leave the field clear for sitting governor Jeff Colyer, who took over when Sam Brownback wandered off to bring Jesus to the Hottentots on behalf of the US government. Safe bet that Colyer would be gearing up for the general election now if President Twitterthumbs hadn't flapped his yap. So thanks for that, Donny!

No, really, THANKS!

Remember the hanging chad debacle in Florida? Now picture it in a landlocked state with more cows than people. It's like fantasy island for Devin Nunes, ALLEGEDLY.

Oh, but we are to kid!

After first insisting he wasn't going to recuse from the counting, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (one and the same!) wrote Colyer a fabulously bitchy letter agreeing to hand off the tabulation to his deputy, Eric Rucker. Colyer had made the shocking suggestion that Kobach delegate responsibility to the Kansas attorney general, rather than his own political appointee, and Kobach was stretched out on the settee with a fit of the vapors at the gross impropriety of it all!

I will not breach the public trust and arbitrarily assign my responsibilities to another office that is not granted such authority by the laws of Kansas.

After several anguished paragraphs, Kobach closed by remonstrating that Colyer was betraying his office by destroying the faith of Kansans in the sacred integrity of their electoral process.

As governor of Kansas, your unrestrained rhetoric has the potential to undermine the public's confidence in the election process. May I suggest that you trust the people of Kansas have made the right decision at the polls and that our election officials will properly determine the result as they do in every election.

Said the guy whose entire adult life has been dedicated to whipping up panic about millions of imaginary illegal alien voters.

So now these two princes can kick the crap out of each other WITH VOTES, specifically, provisional ballots cast by unaffiliated voters under the supervision of poorly trained poll workers. Kansas holds closed primaries, meaning only registered Republicans can vote to select the GOP candidate, BUT an unaffiliated voter can cast a vote by checking a box identifying as a Democrat or a Republican at the polling place. This was news to some poll workers, who mistakenly directed over one thousand unaffiliated voters to use provisional ballots without checking the box indicating party preference. Whoops!

So, will those provisional ballots be counted based on voter intent? Or tossed based on strict interpretation of the statute? And does Kansas law mandate tossing mail-in ballots that arrive without a postmark on Wednesday, since there's no forensic proof that they were mailed before midnight on Tuesday? And how disgusted will the Kansas electorate be when one of these assholes emerges from the melée holding the other one's scalp? And how many millions of dollars are going to be spent on litigating the Republican primary while this nice lady Laura Kelly, the Democratic minority whip of the Kansas Senate, is out campaigning for November?

Even before this debacle, Kobach looked significantly weaker against Kelly than Colyer, with self-funded Libertarian Jeff Orman threatening to throw a wrench in the works. The Wichita Eagle reports on a Remington Research Poll conducted in July:

In a Kelly-Orman-Kobach race, the poll puts Kelly and Kobach effectively in a dead heat — 36 percent for Kelly and 35 percent for Kobach, with Kelly's lead within the margin of error. Orman has 12 percent.

Colyer leads in a three-way race with Kelly and Orman, according to the poll. In that scenario, Colyer receives 38 percent of the vote, while Kelly gets 28 percent and Orman receives 10 percent.

Which is ONE POLL, in a deeply red state, but ... Kobach is a crap candidate who's likely to emerge from this fight with two black eyes and a pissed off base. If there's anyone who can blow this election, it's Kris Kobach.

Keep fighting, Kris! You can do it! (And now we need a shower.)

And YOU need an OPEN THREAD!

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Money us, PLEASE! Throw a tip in the jar, or click here to keep your Wonkette snarking forever.

[Kobach letter / Wichita Eagle / Mother Jones / Kansas City Star]

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While most people spent this weekend telling Nazi punks to fuck off, a couple 11-year-olds were in Las Vegas hacking into voting machines. Why? BECAUSE IT'S FUN!

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