Category Archives: Republican Dogma

North Dakota’s blankety blank Republicans

North Dakota’s GOP has taken the lead on fighting abortion having made it illegal from six weeks after conception.

That’s one part of their recent legislative action.

The law that really cranked my chain was the one the forbade the abortion of any fetus because of a disability. Its supposed to be a high minded Godly law, proof that the GOP cares about children. Tosh. The GOP doesn’t give a shit about children or their parents. The story I was sent about the state of Minnesota doing its best not to fund special education proves my point.

North Dakota Women carrying disabled babies must now give birth to them but can expect no help from taxpayers to help them raise or educate their disabled children. That’s the GOP today. Its a party of no-nothings, hypocrites and assholes. They’ll spend tax money like Indiana to give well-heeled parents a way to avoid public schools that are stuck teaching the disabled children that Republicans are unwilling to levy taxes to educate. Or like in Nebraska they will refuse to fund neo-natal care if there is the smallest chance some wet back from Mexico might have her fetus examined at public expense.

Don’t worry I haven’t offended by Buddy. He told me he stopped reading my blog because I was so unfair to Republicans.

If I do go to the next GOP precinct caucuses I’ll have a couple questions.

BTW. If I do run for the School Board I hope someone throws my line about no-nothings, hypocrites and assholes at me. Its just the kind of thing I would expect from an asshole.

Oh, and how can I resist mentioning the efforts of the GOP to protect children from their Gay parents. The GOP may no longer want to be tagged with that public stand but there is little doubt the protesters against gay marriage out in front of the Supreme Court today are all Republicans, Senator Portman be damned.

Indiana School Vouchers

I don’t know if this USA Today story on voucher payments in Indiana has all the details in the story I first read but one thing about it makes me cringe. It plays into the hands of the worst elements of the Republican Party which took over Indiana in a landslide two years ago. Every blue or purple state where they got such a Tea Party landslide has been using that muscle to enforce all the GOP Dogmas in the book.

I’ve had a lot to say about vouchers on Lincoln Democrat over the years. I’m for them when public schools are cesspools. I’m not interested in them when a state has allowed its funding mechanism to shortchange poor neighborhoods. Sadly my search function no longer seems to go back far enough to find any of my old posts on the subject.

The Dixiecrat GOP has brought among its many perverted legacies like voter suppression, and allowing the poor to be strip mined by usurious pay day loans. Now its added to this the abandonment of public schools with lots of poor and black students.

While it is as yet unclear to me whether this will happen in Indiana I suspect it will happen. In Minnesota it would be like giving money to the many well to do folks who send their children to Breck, Blake or Marshall School.

Its intended as one more nail in the coffin of unions, in this case teacher’s unions. My posts have been none too charitible where the Duluth teacher’s Union leadership is concerned. In my case its not a zero sum game of union destruction. Its contempt for the union leaders acting in concert with previous administrations to stifle dissent.

Local Control

Every third person in Mississippi is obese. Drinking super-sized sodas with 51 sugar cubes worth of sweetness in them is one reason why. But the GOP controlled legislature wants to protect their diabetes prone voters from having any local community deny them the right to chug those sodas down like the “nanny state” Mayor of New York attempted to do.

A Judge recently overturned New York’s right to impose its anti super size rule because it unfairly imposes the limit on only some soda vendors. Even so the Mayor and the city council were exercising another notion that has been popular with Republicans – “local control.” I had to agree with the Mississippi City Councilor who resents the state legislature clipping his municipality’s wings.

Local control has been a big deal in discussions of Education. Nationally Republicans moaned about how Federal Education rules kept tying the hands of local school boards. GOP Governor Tim Pawlenty used “local control” as his ultimate justificatioin for letting the Duluth School District push through its Red Plan without a routine referendum. I always thought that that was a shoddy excuse for letting the community decide the fate of the Red Plan. The School Board of 2006 that gave us the Red Plan never campaigned to institute the near half billion dollar monstrosity whose costs have continued to creep up over the last six years.

I don’t demand pure consistency from politicians. I’m not always consistent myself. Times change and flexibility has its virtues. Still, when its just an empty slogan its not much to hang one’s hat on.

Giving a frack

I tend to be supporting of fracking for natural gas. That I may make a little money from it doesn’t particularly sway me. My Mother’s family has owned a few thousand percent interest in a half a dozen Texas oil/gas wells. Last year her earnings were less than $2,000 although back in the day they were substantial enough to give her grandmother a comfortable retirement. Not bad for an investment that was meant to earn money from rice farming.

I presume that if there is not fracking now there will soon be on our family’s mineral rights land.

On the one hand I think its just fine if Minnesota and Wisconsin allow for the mining of the particular sand that frackers need to inject into the Earth. Natural Gas is far less polluting than the Coal from West Virginia.

And yet on the other hand I know that the deep water reserves under the west and midwest are being sucked out from under the continent at unsustainable levels for agriculture. Now according to this Sully post the farmers of the great plains are finding they can’t compete will frackers.

Oh and I’m almost obligated to mention here that there is one more nail in the coffin of Climate deniers. But if you are one of the eternally undead or a Republican never mind. Its only science.

Ditto Sully – on the waste of taxpayer’s money in Iraq…

…under GOP management.

Other contracts went to cronies: the top contracting officer in Hilla awarded $8.6 million to a contractor, Philip Bloom, in exchange for “bribes and kickbacks, expensive vehicles, business-class airline tickets, computers, jewelry, and other items.” Still others got needless cash infusions: one unspecified school requested $10,000 for refurbishments and got $70,000. Government contracting databases didn’t even have “an information management system that keeps track of everything built,”

Faithless Christians dismantling public education

Two nights ago I half watched a PBS documentary on the Texas School Board which has out sized power in determining what gets put in the nation’s text books. I was busy whittling down what had been a twenty-inch thick stack of untended Duluth News Tribunes dating back to 2010 to clip and file stories mostly related to the Duluth Schools. The central character in “Revisionaries” was the Board’s chairman, a nice fellow and practicing dentist, Don McLeroy.

For ten years Don has been inserting creationism into science textbooks and taking Thomas Jefferson out of History books. Because Texas orders books statewide for all their public schools unlike most states which allow their school districts to purchase textbooks most textbook publishers base their books on the Texas School Board mandates and have done so for several decades. That might help explain why among the western educated nations the US had one of the smallest number of folks who accepted evolution, 28% of the population.

A few years ago when I was running against Roger Reinert for the State Senate I campaigned in part on my proposal to forbid any Minnesota School District from buying books that had been designed to accommodate the Texas standards. Roger, I support the Red Plan, Reinert won that DFL primary.

Enough digression.

McLeroy struck me as a naif. He and his Board majority require the teaching of creationism the latest alternative to evolution saying that science hasn’t decided between the two “theories.”

The thing that no one else comments on is that this silliness not only turns biology on its head but all other sciences. For his part Dr. McLeroy was shown explaining to some grade schoolers how Noah’s ark was plenty big enough to hold two of every animal in the world. McLeroy believes that the universe is only 6,000 years old. He laughs off dinosaurs living tens of millions of years ago.

But If McLeroy is right then the light from distant stars has only been traveling for 6,000 years. Those who keep up with NASA may know that the medium sized galaxy we live in is 120,000 light years across. It takes a photon of light that many years to traverse the distance of the Milky Way if the physicists are right about this. In a 6000 year old universe we could only see stars about 1/20th of the way across the galaxy. All the others would be as good as invisible to us as well as the galaxies beyond our own. The astronomers have been telling us that their new telescopes have given them a peek at regions of our universe where light we now see began its travel toward us almost 13 billion years ago. Don’s creationism can not accept this.

Since light, a major preoccupation of physics, travels at roughly 186,000 miles per second, Don McLeroy’s universe and the universe of astronomy and physics are irreconcilable. I hate to think how much money we’ve wasted NASA.

Likewise, geology is being taught all wrong. The non-Biblical Earth is 4 billion years old having formed slowly by matter’s coalescence in a ring around what was to become our sun. At first the Earthly blob was mostly cool but it warmed up through friction as it was bombarded by comets and asteroids turning molten. Huge reservoirs of radioactive metals at its core kept it warm until a thin crust cooled. So, say the scientists but all of this geology, astronomy and physics get’s tossed out on its head in Don McLeroy’s 6,000 year old world.

I think there is a larger irony for McLeroy than using his position on a state school board to moot and undermine all this science. I think a larger irony involves his misunderstanding of his own religion, Christianity.

Don made it clear that he does not just have faith in his positions. He knows that his religion is fact. The creation of the universe that he feels is backed up by the Bible is a concrete truth. McLeroy is not an arrogant man. He’s more of a Sancho Panza following his Quixotic scientific belief. There is, however, no humility in this knowledge. The ark could hold all ten or twenty million animals that could have been collected by Noah. The world is 6,000 years old.

But it is not certainty that the New Testament offers. Jesus offers his follower’s faith. It is enough to believe through faith that Jesus was sired by God of a virgin. It is enough to believe that he was crucified, dead and buried and that he rose again from the dead and ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of God. The reward for for people who have faith in the message found in the New Testament is eternal life. God bestows his grace on people of faith. This is not good enough for McLeroy who apparently survived his public school years without drinking too heavily of science. No, Mr. McLeroy has to place his science lite creationism along side evolution as a co-equal. Nothing can be left behind to undermine faith.

Joseph Stalin might have appreciated Mr. McLeroy’s concern. His purges stunted of a generation of horticulturalists and evolutionists who he replaced with Lamarkian “scientists” like Trofim Lysenko whose theories, Stalin was persuaded, fit better with dialectical materialism.

Of the twelve disciples I most identify with Thomas and his famous doubt. He refused to believe the litany of the Apostle’s creed until he was able to place his hands in the wounds of the crucifiction. Jesus then chided him for his flimsy faith thereby honoring the unquestioning faith of the other eleven.

McLeroy doesn’t really have to worry about the teaching of the birth of Jesus in American textbooks. Tens of millions of children in Sunday School classes have accepted this rather than quarrel with their elders or church. But evolution is different. Many mainline churches grew to accept evolution without considering it a threat to their overall faith. This is not true of McLeroy. He is a fundementalist and he can’t have public schools undermine the faith of students who might begin to doubt a seven day creation. Creationism has to be put in textbooks as a legitimate theory much like Lysenko’s theories had to be put in Joseph Stalin’s textbooks. Doubt must be stamped out. Faith can not be trusted. Or perhaps, like me, Don McLeroy would have been a Thomas but unlike me he finds this thought troubling. He can not trust children who are taught mainstream science to ignore it. He must insert nonsense into America’s textbooks because he can not trust mere faith to uphold the Godly world he wishes to enforce. To me this is a demonstration of Dr. MeLeroy’s faithlessness not his faith. I do not see how God can grant grace to a man of so little faith.

Perhaps, it is even a rejection of the Constitution’s expectation that the state will not promote religion.

Increasingly Dr. McLeroy’s Creation science is Republican science. It may, however, not remain Texas science forever. Dr. McLean was defeated in his run for reelection to the State education Board by about 450 votes. Still, the standards he and his fellow Board members approved for Texas, (and consequently America) will be in force until 2020 or another seven years.

The chickens are coming home to roost…

…and leave a lot of droppings in the GOP’s coup.

I find it ironic that the GOP which in the Reagan years once vilified (correctly) the Democrats for being a bunch of special interests is now suffering the same fate having become a party of its own special interests. This point was brought home by two stories in the press today on how the public has retreated from two central guideposts of the GOP cannon.

From the DNT’s first Page – “Support for legal abortion continunes to grow”:

As if to further bolster the argument that liberalism is having a resurgence in the United States, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that, for the first time ever, a majority of Americans – 54 percent – now believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time. Even more broadly, a full 70 percent believe that Roe v. Wade – the controversial decision that, 40 years ago, guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion, at least in the first trimester of pregnancy – should not be overturned.

Darned DNT doesn’t have their story on its site. I got this from the Christian Science Monitor (A paper that my Dad subscribed to for years) The DNT’s story mentions that ten years ago rather than 54% it was only 44 percent of the public that believed abortion should be legal. More critically the number of Republicans who feel intensely about this issue is shrinking.

The other poll issue was on page three and was about making it easier for illegal immigrants to enter the US. Once again the DNT’s story is only in newsprint. This comes from ABC:

“More than 6 in 10 Americans now favor allowing illegal immigrants to eventually become U.S. citizens, a major increase in support driven by a turnaround in Republicans’ opinions after the 2012 elections.(the story goes on to say that two years ago instead of 60% support it was only 47% support.

Two more GOP special interests that have taken a big hit are the NRA’s no compromise Second Amendment enthusiasts and the religious lobby that wants to keep gays closeted or make them normal. Expect the GOP’s Global warming and science deniers to fall from grace next.

I’ve waited for this all to happen since 1992 when I made my first break with the GOP and ran a quixotic independent campaign for Congress. I returned to the fold afterwords for about ten years but was kept on the margin by the new leaders of the party that were happy to go to conventions and explain that folks like me were the worst butchers in the history of the world. I guess they were accommodationists because after publicly announcing that I was worse than Papa Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Mao combined they were always very nice to me.

As my buddy (who seems to have given up emailing me) often says I’ve got my undies in a bunch over Republicans when Democrats can be expected to overreach with their rhetoric. It makes me think that before I die I should start attending GOP caucuses again (since my political future went over the cliff twenty ago) on the off chance that I can bring a little Lincoln pragmatism back to the party.

I have some personal theories about both parties and their excesses during my lifetime. I think that the GOP was overrun by College Republicans who all majored in business and decided that ethical considerations were a waste of time when short term tactics like stomping out independent thinking would lead to better election results and paychecks. In this regard they were as amoral as the mortgage industry’s specialists who approved unjustified home loans or Vatican priests who preferred to cover up and pay off the victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The book I hope to write someday will chronicle a different age when a similar sort ran the DFL in Northern Minnesota – political hacks with their hands out for government dollars.

Thus it was and ever shall be. Don’t believe me? Watch Spielberg’s Lincoln and enjoy the comic performance of James Spader as the 13th Amendment’s amoral, arm-twisting lobbyist.

I’m ready for a new set of racketeers to take over America. I just hope we get a long interim where idealists reign before they succumb to the pleasures of power.

Purple civility

My recent posts here and here on how bifurcated America has become because of our red and blue politics is, no doubt, a passing phase. We old farts will all die and our children will slap the dust off their dungarees and adopt equally foolish political agendas. I have lived through the bifurcation being a stubborn “liberal” Republican who was pushed to the sidelines and who chose to spend the last twenty years twitting the purges. My first precinct caucus was 1970. In 1992 I ran as an Independent candidate for Congress against both the Democrat Jim Oberstar and the Republican Phil Herwig. The Republicans good naturedly let me back into their caucuses after that and I subsequently ran as a Republican in two legislative campaigns in 2000 and 2002.

In 2004 (or so) I attended my first Democratic precinct caucus. I felt very out of place despite the fact that on issue after issue I agreed with the resolutions being offered up from the folks I was caucusing with.

This change is just what my generation called for back in our youth when we (not me) said of the two parties that they were so similar they were like Alice in Wonderland’s twins Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

My argument for keeping the two parties the way they were, is the very same one that Mitt’s Dad, George Romney, outlined to Barry “Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is no vice” Goldwater. He pointed to the often dysfunctional politics of the European democracies where Communists and extreme rightist parties fought for control. Romney lost that argument and today the European’s parties are more like America’s old Democrats and Republicans and our parties have taken to extreme rhetoric.

I have had one gadfly critic from the beginning of the blog in 2006, My Buddy. The emails have grown heated between us but they have not stopped except for a few months when I quit replying to his emails because of my irritation. We still come out swinging when we think the other has said something bone headed. Here’s a recent sample of our quibbles as our November 4th election draws near:

Harry:
I liked McGovern, and I voted for McGovern, but the video clip at http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/021801.html

is an example of why http://www.foxnews.com/is my internet home page; and why I visit web pages other than that of The Lincoln Democrat; and why I am disinclined to vote for Obama. If his behavior regarding what recently happened in Benghazi; and if the lame stream media’s coverage of it doesn’t suck; please tell me why.
Your Buddy

Buddy,

The NY Times had a hurricane to cover. Big Surprise no Benghazi coverage.

I suppose you’ve forgotten the democrat’s complaints that the Lame Street Media didn’t cover the bull on WMD’s and other crap justifying Bush’s Iraq invasion. Media blindfolds can work both ways.

The outrage was amped up in the Fox segment. The Judge sounds a lot like the retard bashing Coulter and so did the interviewer. [I confused the male blowhard with the Judge who was the female interviewer] Listen to the interview again. Sounded like a bunch of cackling hysterics. Who can blame them? Looks like Benghazi is going to get the same pass the WMD’s did.

As for the lame street media, I get most of my stuff from the tax payer’s dollars at NPR. This is what they had to say about Benghazi today: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=164156200 But it’s probably not true. It comes from all those bitter enders at the CIA.

I’d like to hear Coulter and crew piss and moan about this while we dig out from the GOP’s global warming and beach front flooding debacles. Obviously, God wants Obama to win. That’s what I’d expect the Pat Robertson’s of the GOP to say.

At least my father-in-law who watches FOX all the time is hard of hearing and isn’t [always] very clear about what is being communicated. He has the good sense to be oblivious of and to Lincolndemocrat.com.

Harry

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Moderation = Conservatism

Amen, David Brooks:

First, let me describe what moderation is not. It is not just finding the midpoint between two opposing poles and opportunistically planting yourself there. Only people who know nothing about moderation think it means that.

Moderates start with a political vision, but they get it from history books, not philosophy books. That is, a moderate isn’t ultimately committed to an abstract idea. Instead, she has a deep reverence for the way people live in her country and the animating principle behind that way of life.

Its not “conservatives” who have purged moderates (RINOs) from the Republican Party. Its Radicals who have purged conservatives. And Mitt Romney owes them big time for overlooking his convenient recent apostasies in their mad rush to get Hussein out of the White House.

This is one of the Reasons the RINOs were hounded out of the GOP

To prevent them, our Senator David Durenberger and a host of others included, from introducing a law like the one President Obama got passed.

They will pass laws forcing a woman to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan but they’ll let her child die without insurance after it is born. I guess that’s their idea of God’s will.

I used to roll my eyes at Democrats who vilified Republicans…

…on the basis of crude stereotypes. The GOP had a lot of thoughtful, brilliant, and honest politicians in its ranks before amoral hacks, self-righteous No Nothings, and craven pundit entertainers purged the best in the name of eradicating RINOs.

Here’s former Senator John Danforth one of many such purge victims and his thoughts on the current party:

What have been the big applause lines in these debates? Well, a statement that the governor of Texas is responsible for killing 234 people on death row. Or that we favor torture. Or that we’re creating a fence on the Mexican border that electrocutes people when they try to cross it. Or when people show up at the emergency room at hospitals and they’re not insured dont treat them. And that, I mean these are the big applause lines, people just hoop and holler when they hear all that. […]

It doesn’t have anything to do with the republican party that I was a part of. This is just totally different. And all of these people who are saying this, y’know, and claiming that, y’know, they’re for all this stuff, they also sort of ostentatiously say, “Oh, we’re very religious people. We really, we’re just very pious, Christian people.” They were for torture, and electrocution of the people on along the border and all of that. That doesn’t have anything to do with, is contrary to the Christianity that I understand.

BTW: Danforth is an ordained Episcopal Priest. I’m an agnostic but I feel the same way. I’m really glad that my hero Abe Lincoln was all but an atheist in his early life. Newty Gingrich recently said he’d never want an atheist to be President.

I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will bein in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.

How ironic that Gingrich’s party had not only Lincoln as President but William Howard Taft who explained that he did not believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Neither did the first “Republican” president, Thomas Jefferson. But then these fellows all lived in a nation that didn’t know what it meant to be an American.

League of Women Voters forum?

I just saw on the news tonight that there was a school board candidate forum held by the League of Women Voters…….

They didn’t bother advertising it or I might have sacrificed the third installment of Ken Burns’ Prohibition to attend it. I could see that it was held in the School Board meeting room. Wonder if they were trying to control crowds by keeping it secret. I’m kind of glad I didn’t go. The PBS series has been great. I learned to my surprise about a famous women voter in history that I’d not known about Pauline Sabin.

She damn near single-handedly reversed Prohibition. She even quit the Republican Party to do it. She hated hypocrisy. Wow! My kinda gal.

Maybe the women of the League should have stayed home with me to watch it rather than put on a secret side show. They could have learned a thing or two. No wonder the Republicans want to stop funding Public Broadcasting.