Archive for June, 2019

Israel is not our friend.

Iran does not have nuclear weapons.

Israel has nuclear weapons.

Iran is not our enemy.

Israel is not our friend.


We can stop labeling each other all the time, and start listening to each other all the time.

This is one way we can save our country.

Get your facts straight before writing any articles about American history and/or culture.

It is extremely dishonest to present opinion as fact, as you do in this joke of a news article:
It does not surprise me that the writer of this fake news does not even provide his readers with a photograph.  Nor does it surprise me that his biography reads like foreign spam:
“Joe Hanson graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in English Language & Literature. Originally from small town Minnesota, he currently lives in Los Angeles, where he enjoys freestyle rapping, going to comic book conventions and tracking down Chicago-style deep dish pizza.”
What the hell is “amp,” for instance?
“Joe Hanson” is not his/her/their real name, is it?
And “Joe Hanson” resides in India, China, Vietnam, or some other Asian country, where he/she/they cannot possibly understand a goddamned thing about any region of the United States—least of all the Southern United States—isn’t that right?
I am especially amused at this bit of bullshit, from your “about” page:
“We aim to shine a light on important issues and make decisions based on what we feel people ought to hear about. We provide a mix of content our audience can’t get elsewhere – both to inform and entertain.”
Your lack of familiarity with the English language is especially obvious, here.
In fact, you are probably not even human—I am probably emailing a robot.
But just in case I am wrong—just in case you are human beings, with hearts, minds, and souls—I invite you to visit my blog, Solosocial, at, to obtain some truth about every region of the United States—especially the Southern United States.
I especially invite “Joe Hanson” to visit my blog—he/she/they obviously need(s) some real information about every region of the United States—especially the Southern United States.
As you can see, I do not present opinion as fact—I do not present my personal views as “news”—and neither should you.
We have enough problems with dishonest “journalists” here in the United States—“news people” who serve themselves, at our expense, by serving us dishonest entertainment, disguised as honest news.
The American people are more ignorant, apathetic, and complacent than ever—partly because their press is no longer the people’s watchdog on the government, but the government’s lapdog (primarily because most of the television stations and newspapers in our country are now owned by remote media corporations, which are in the pockets of politicians of both the Democratic and Republican parties).
We do not need foreigners, like you, adding to the ignorance, apathy, and complacency of the Digital-Age American people—by disguising opinion as fact, and entertainment as news.
I understand that you are solely in the business of making money, by featuring advertisements on your “news” sites.
But for God’s sake, at least be honest about this.
Stop disguising opinion as fact, and entertainment as news.
And get your facts straight before writing any articles about American history and/or culture.
Scott Wesley Mayo

Your emailed, Zionist propaganda—and my response to it

“Dear Mr. Mayo,

“Thank you for contacting me regarding my position on Iran. I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

“Iran is one of the most hostile states in the world and cannot be allowed to develop the most dangerous weapons in the world, which is exactly why President Trump withdrew from the reckless Iran deal.  The deal has done very little to stop Iran from staying on the path of developing a nuclear weapon.  Nuclear Iran is a [sic] unsafe proposition to the United States, Israel, and our other allies in the region.  Iran is our enemy and we cannot take the threat from Iran lightly.  We have to do everything in our power to keep Americans and our allies safe.  Military action is never the first choice, but we must keep every option on the table.

“Again, thank you for your correspondence.  I look forward to representing every citizen in Florida and I appreciate the time you took to provide your position on this matter.  Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me.


“Rick Scott
“United States Senator

“You can follow my work in the U.S. Senate on Twitter.  Additionally, please do not reply to this email as this mailbox unfortunately is for outgoing messages only.  If you would like to contact me again, please visit my website.”


Senator Scott,

This is why I did not vote for you in 2010—or any election year, thereafter.

You are just another completely tone-deaf politician—just like Matt Gaetz.

You don’t give a damn about your constituents—and you never have.

How stupid do you think we are?

Do you think we really believe that Iran is our enemy—and that Israel is our friend?

Just like your fellow Zionist traitors, Matt Gaetz and Ron DeSantis, you serve Israel—you do not serve Florida.

And just like your fellow Zionist traitors, Nimrata (“Nikki”) Randhawa Haley, Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo, you serve Israel—you do not serve America.

You Zionist traitors are selling our United States of America out to the Zionist State of Israel—and we do not appreciate your treason.

You neoconservatives are ruining the Republican Party—and betraying the trust of millions of loyal Republican voters, who are still not aware of this.

Why don’t you go to Israel, Senator Scott—and stay there?

Why don’t you take your fellow Zionist traitors, Matt Gaetz, Ron DeSantis, Nimrata (“Nikki”) Randhawa Haley, Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo, to Israel—and stay there, with them?

Why don’t you Zionist traitors get the hell out of our country?

Scott Wesley Mayo

P.S. Iran may never have any nuclear weapons, or the capacity to develop more—but Israel has nuclear weapons, and the capacity to develop more. But you already know this, don’t you?

Go serve your Zionist masters, in the Zionist State of Israel—we don’t want you in our United States of America!


What a beautiful flag—too bad it represents something so hideous.

What a beautiful flag—too bad it represents something so hideous.


of Grand Valley State University

Concerning University Recognition of

Former Trump Administration Ambassador Nikki Haley

We are writing to express our strong objection, as educators and scholars, to the awarding of the Col. Ralph W. Hauenstein Fellowship Medal to former United Nations Ambassador for the Trump Administration, Nikki Haley. While this award is being presented by the Hauenstein Center, a Center affiliated with our University, the University has itself publicly endorsed the award, calling it “Grand Valley State University’s most prestigious external award”, one that recognizes a “spirit of leadership and service, which Grand Valley seeks to inspire in its students and graduates.” The award has also been co-presented by either the President or the Provost of GVSU every year since 2011. It is specifically GVSU’s endorsement of Ambassador Haley in these terms that we object to. Because this endorsement is now part of the public record, we feel compelled to publicly dissent.

Ambassador Haley’s most prominent national political role to date has been as a loyal member of the Administration of Donald Trump. She supported the Administration during her tenure as U.N. Ambassador, and has continued to do so since stepping down. Yet the current Administration systematically distorts norms of public discourse and conduct, and consistently seeks to undermine public trust in fact-finding and knowledge-generating institutions, including the judiciary, the press, science, and the university. Our objection to the award is that Ambassador Haley’s support for the Administration includes these very efforts. Efforts to undermine standards of public discourse and conduct, and public trust in institutions such as GVSU itself. Awarding her is thus endorsing someone who has been unapologetically complicit in the undermining of the very values that the institution stands for. It is this to which we object.

Credibility and trust are central issues of our current moment. No political party has a monopoly on mendaciousness, however the current Administration regularly makes both frivolous and significant assertions (concerning everything from ‘crowd sizes’ to ‘landslide victories’ to voter fraud) without evidence, and persists in repeating them not only in the absence of evidence, but even in the full presence of evidence to the contrary. It maintains the untrustworthiness of its critics, calls the press “the enemy of the people”, dismisses unfavorable reporting as “fake news”, and climate science as a “hoax”. It has called for the incarceration of President Trump’s political opponent without and indeed in spite of the results of due process. It repeatedly contradicts the results of fact-finding bodies of all sorts, including those of the government itself, and ignores or rejects the credibility of science, going so far as to remove scientific information from government websites. It has distributed and defended the distribution of both fake and false information about political opponents and social groups as a means of undermining their credibility or of justifying policies that would significantly curtail their rights. It has consistently rebuffed even the most basic standards of transparency and accountability.

None of the foregoing are partisan matters. Right and left should be able to agree that they are objectionable, and dangerous to a democratic order based on consent of the governed, public trust, and basic respect for rights. We thus want to emphasize in the most strenuous terms that our concerns here are not partisan matters regarding specific policies. Rather, they have to do with corrosive attacks on basic standards of discourse and evidence, and on respect for the process of acquiring knowledge and verifying claims—things that are the bedrock of university education. While not “value-free”, the procedures and commitments at the heart of university research and education represent non-partisan common ground. They provide shared knowledge of the facts of history and of science, and tools for the evaluation of arguments and interpretation of discourse that form a common basis for us to appeal to in understanding each other and in resolving our disputes. At their best, institutions such as the press and the judiciary serve similar functions. Collectively, these methods and institutions form the bedrock and precondition for flourishing democracy itself. The current Administration, however, systematically calls into question these very shared standards and institutions even as it stokes existing divisions in our politics and culture.

During her time in the Trump Administration, Ambassador Haley “took names” of countries who voted against Administration priorities and walked out when some of those opposed to them spoke. Sometimes characterized as an “adult in the room”, she nevertheless refrained from challenging or criticizing the Administration except when it specifically undermined her. She capitalized on this episode in her Washington Post Op-Ed, calling out an anonymous Administration member for writing an Op-Ed in the New York Times (I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration), and urging this individual to express their disagreement with the President as she does. However, on matters of policy and substance, as well as concerning the Administration’s day to day comportment and its distortion of public norms of discourse and conduct, she has had no significant objections or criticisms to make. She has had nothing to say, for example, about the inappropriateness of the President retweeting a fake video meant to sow anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment, to name just one distortion of facts and discourse that a U.N. Ambassador has reason to distance herself from. No evidence we could find in the public record suggests that Ambassador Haley’s service in the Administration was any kind of loyal or principled opposition. She endorsed, sustained, and supported the Administration while otherwise remaining silent, and continues to do so despite criticisms she may once have had. Nor is there evidence she was “forced out” for disagreements, as some Administration members clearly have been. Quite the contrary. We see nothing that clearly separates her from the discourse- and trust-undermining conduct of this Administration, and so nothing that embodies the “spirit of leadership and service, which Grand Valley seeks to inspire in its students and graduates,” let alone the basic values at the heart of our educational and scholarly endeavors.

Importantly, our objection is not to inviting Ambassador Haley to speak and thereby participate in the ongoing intellectual discourse that both Grand Valley State University and the Hauenstein Center facilitate and encourage. We have no such objection. Our objection rather is that giving her an award is something much more, and amounts to using an institution dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, high standards of discourse, respect for facts and for evidence, and to educational excellence for the purpose of honoring and so affirming someone complicit in the sustained public distortion and undermining of these very values. GVSU is a public institution committed first and foremost to education in the liberal arts tradition: the tradition that sees the most important project of education as preparing individuals for their personal, professional, and political lives by fostering in them the capacity to be self-determining individuals capable of autonomous thought, reflection, and judgement. Such an education includes the acquisition of knowledge and the cultivation of respect for facts and for rational discourse. It is committed to the dignity of all human beings as participants in this process regardless of their political persuasion. As such, it is anathema to such an institution to pretend that a politician who enables the rejecting and undermining of all of these things is nevertheless worthy of the highest external recognition that it has to offer. Yet, Ambassador Haley, via voluntary participation in and unwavering support for the Trump Administration, is such a politician.

Andrew D. Spear (Philosophy)

All correspondence concerning this open letter should be addressed to: speara AT

Michelle Miller-Adams (Political Science)

Gordon Alderink (Physical Therapy)

David Alvarez (English)

Brad Ambrose (Physics)

Rachel M. Anderson (English)

Corey Anton (School of Communications)

Russ Barneveld (College of Education)

Marshall Battani (Sociology)

Jae Basilière (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Meghan Moe Beitiks (Visual & Media Arts)

Craig Benjamin (Honors College)

Krista Benson (Liberal Studies)

Sheila Blackman (Biology & Cell and Molecular Biology)

Patricia Bloem (English)

Kathleen Blumreich (English)

Matthew Boelkins (Mathematics)

Jeffrey Byrnes (Philosophy)

Linda Chown (Emeritus, English)

Patricia Clark (Writing)

David Coffey (Mathematics)

Roy Cole (Geography and Sustainable Planning)

Brett Colley (Visual & Media Arts)

David Crane (Classics)

Jason Crouthamel (History)

Brian Deyo (English)

Mary deYoung (Emeritus, Sociology)

Polly J. Diven (Political Science)

David Eaton (History)

Jill Eggers (Visual & Media Arts)

Lisa Feurzeig (Music)

Paul Fishback (Mathematics)

Coeli Fitzpatrick (Honors College)

Tim Fisher (Visual & Media Arts)

John Gabrosek (Statistics)

Gretchen Galbraith (History)

Elizabeth Gansen (Spanish)

John Golden (Mathematics)

Mayra Fortes González (Modern Languages and Literatures)

Dan Graser (Music, Theatre, and Dance)

Jennifer Gross (Psychology)

Donna Henderson-King (Psychology)

Eaaron Henderson-King (Psychology)

Firas Hindeleh (Mathematics)

Jonathan K. Hodge (School of Communications, Mathematics)

Caitlin Horrocks (Writing)

Amorak Huey (Writing)

Jodee Hunt (Biology)

Virginia Jenkins (Visual & Media Arts)

Melanie L. Rabine-Johnson (Writing Center Specialist)

Todd Kaneko (Writing)

Cáel M. Keegan (Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Hermann Kurthen (Sociology)

Brian Lakey (Psychology)

Sean Lancaster (Literacy & Technology)

Ronald Loeffler (Philosophy)

Kay M. Losey (Writing)

Michael Macaluso (Sociology)

Hazel McClure (University Libraries)

Kimberly McKee (Liberal Studies)

James N. McNair (Annis Water Resources Institute)

Susan Mendoza (Center for Scholarly & Creative Excellence)

Debbie Morrow (University Libraries)

Aiman W. Mueller (Writing)

Paul Murphy (History)

Vandana Pednekar-Magal (School of Communications, Area and Global Studies)

Raúl Peña (Visual & Media Arts)

James Penn (Geography and Sustainable Planning)

Thomas Pentecost (Chemistry)

Toni Perrine (Visual & Media Arts)

J. H. Philbin (Visual & Media Arts)

Milun Rakovic (Physics)

Diane Rayor (Classics)

Angela Reed (Anthropology)

Samhita Rhodes (School of Engineering)

Kim Roberts (Visual & Media Arts)

Stephen Rowe (Philosophy)

Dawn M. Rutecki (Liberal Studies)

Mary Bower Russa (Psychology)

Stephanie Schaertel (Chemistry)

Gayle Schaub (University Libraries)

Andrew Schlewitz (Area & Global Studies)

John Schmit (Visual & Media Arts)

Médar Serrata (Modern Languages and Literatures)

David Stark (History)

Mark Staves (Cell and Molecular Biology)

Joel Stillerman (Sociology and Honors College)

Kirsten Strom (Visual & Media Arts)

Ted Sundstrom (Emeritus, Mathematics)

Steve Tripp (History)

Lois Tyson (Emeritus, English)

Peggy Vandenberg (Philosophy)

Jessica VandenPlas (Chemistry)

Heather Van Wormer (Anthropology)

Pablo Mahave-Veglia (Music, Theater and Dance)

David Vessey (Philosophy)

Adrienne Wallace (School of Communications)

Laurel Westbrook (Sociology)

Judy Whipps (Liberal Studies and Philosophy)

Todd Williams (Psychology)

Paul Wittenbraker (Visual & Media Arts)

Richard Yidana (Sociology, Area & Global Studies)

Paul Wee Dong Yu (Mathematics)

Donald A. Zinman (Political Science)

Karen Zivi (Honors College)

Note: Collection of signatures for this open letter is ongoing. Any GVSU Faculty who would like to add their signature to this open letter should contact Andrew Spear at speara AT

This letter has already been made available, in final draft form, to President Thomas Haas, Director of the Hauenstein Center Gleaves Whitney, Provost Maria Cimitile, Dean of CLAS Frederick Antczak, and Chair of the Faculty Senate Felix Ngassa. At that time it was expressed that, while the objections stated above are principled and serious, it is our desire to lodge them in the spirit of intellectual sincerity, charity, and openness to ongoing dialog that are the hallmark of liberal arts education that lie at the basis of both GVSU and the Hauenstein Center’s missions as we understand them. We hope that this moment of dissent, rather than serving to entrench “sides” and foster animosity, can be an opportunity for beginning a deeper engagement with the fraught issues of intellect, conscience, and principle that our current times raise for all sincerely concerned and engaged citizens. 

Disclaimer: The dissent expressed here is that of the signees. As dissent to a position taken by Grand Valley State University, it should be clear that these are not the views of the institution itself. We write as educators and scholars, but do not speak on behalf of all faculty at GVSU.

The reason I am so hot—all the time—is that everyone else is so cold—all the time.

My father had an opportunity to learn the truth about my blog, thereby about me.

My father had an opportunity to tell me the truth about who had intentionally misrepresented me, by intentionally misrepresenting my blog.

My father had an opportunity to trust me.

My father had an opportunity to have a good relationship with me, in the last 621 days of his life.

And my father decided—on April 10, 2016—to intentionally miss all of these opportunities.

How different everything could have been, if my father would have simply visited my blog—as I asked him to do—and told me the truth about who had told him that vicious lie about my blog, thereby about me—as I asked him to do.

For me, it is like my father died on April 10, 2016, rather than December 22, 2017.

God damn this Digital Age—the coldness of these smartphone-addicted, Digital-Age people.

The reason I am so hot—all the time—is that everyone else is so cold—all the time.