Wednesday, June 23, 2010

South Dakota Values

Continuing with my thoughts on wingnut talking points from yesterday I'd thought I ask about a real common one that we hear all the time from fungelicals in our state and I am betting is something we will be hearing quite a bit from Kristi Noem during the next 4 1/2 months, the infamous "getting back to South Dakota values". Now please forgive me as I have only lived in the great state of South Dakota for 13 years but I must ask, what exactly are South Dakota values, when did we get away from them, and what makes them different from say Ohio values or New Mexico values?

Do these values consist of complaining about the Government spending more than they make while taking millions in government subsidies or gladly taking much more from the Federal Government than we pay in while complaining about government pork? Is it that we value having some of the lowest wages in the country to the point where some consider a Walmart greeter to be a "good paying" job? Or maybe South Dakota values include railing against a state income tax while accepting far more injurious to the middle class government revenue streams that include sales taxes on food and video lottery? Or just maybe they are making it so that credit card companies can setup shop in our fine state and allow them to charge whatever interest rates they want to the people that can usually least afford it? Those South Dakota values?

Maybe the next time a candidate uses the "getting back to South Dakota values" talking point someone should ask them which values exactly they are talking about...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Christian Nation? The Constitution Would Suggest Otherwise

Watching Gordon Howie during his 4th place campaign for the GOP House slot we were again subjected to the far-right's assertion that American has drifted away from our "Christian founding/Christian heritage". We heard this from Sarah Palin during the Presidential campaign and continue to hear it from fungelicals even as they try to explain away their defeats in their attempts to win public office despite using that argument. Of course being one with no belief in a higher power, listening to these arguments makes me cringe while seeing them lose helps restore my faith in our sensibilities as a nation (of course Texas is an exception).

After hearing Howie and his followers continue this argument at their sparsely attended rallies even after being trounced, I thought I'd throw out my thoughts on the subject.

First let's put aside for this argument on whether we are a Christian nation the fact that the 11th article of Treaty Of Tripoli ratified by Congress and signed by President John Adams in 1797 specifically states that the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Secondly let's put aside the establishment clause for just a moment, though I will get back to it in a minute, which seemingly also contradicts the Christian nation claim when it states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Let us also not mention the fact that the Constitution not once even mentions Christianity which makes one wonder what nation would be founded on a religious foundation and then not mention that foundation anywhere in their most important document?

For this discussion let us instead look at an argument that I rarely come across that concerns the 10 Commandments, you know those 2 tablets sent from God (Mel Brooks intimates that there were actually 15 until Moses dropped one of the tablets but that is from a different version of the history of the world) that contain the basis for much of the so-called Christian morality that Howie et al want our nation to get back to following. Considering the importance of those 10 do's and do not's to the faithful especially back in the puritanical days of our nation's founding, one would have to really wonder why our founders would then turn around and pretty much make any attempt by the government to enforce 4 of those "laws from God" Unconstitutional?

For example:
'You shall have no other gods before Me.' - Violates the Free Exercise clause of the 1st amendment.
'You shall not make for yourself a graven image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.' - Also Violates the Free Exercise clause of the 1st amendment.
'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.' - Violates our freedom of speech guaranteed by the first amendment.
'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.' - Seems to spit in the face of the establishment clause which would prevent the government from establishing a specific day of religiosity.

Of course this is not proof of the intent of our founders but it is just some more food for thought to consider when the Sarah Palin/Gordon Howie wing of the Republican party trots out their "Christian nation" meme at the next Tea Party rally.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Far Right Texas Education Standards Hit Snag Caused By Far Right Political Policies

Texas has become the poster child for the far right with the Governor's comments on secession to the state Board of Education's attempt to inject religion into the public school curriculum. The Board of Education's recent vote to change the textbook standards to include such goodies as glorification of McCarthy's communist witch hunts and questioning climate change though appears to have hit a snag, they can't afford to pay for the new textbooks.
The state normally replaces textbooks on a rotating basis every 10 years. With Texas facing a budget shortfall of at least $11 billion in 2011, the money isn’t going to be there. Textbooks covering the new science standards would have cost $400 million, and the Legislature is already expecting a bill of $888 million for textbooks already ordered.

Interestingly, it also appears that part of the reason they can't afford the textbooks is because of their wingnut governor Rick Perry's aversion to federal aid.
The lack of textbook funding underscores Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) constant compulsion to oppose federal funding that could help his state.

Quite the wingnut conundrum ain't it?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is He Really That Stupid?

While upwards of 2.5 million gallons of oil a day leak into the gulf you would think that BP CEO Tony Hayward would be working to do whatever he could to get this tragedy fixed. If you thought that you'd be wrong.
Just when it seemed Gulf residents couldn't get any more outraged about the massive oil spill fouling their coastline, word came Saturday that BP's CEO was taking time off to attend a glitzy yacht race in England.

Joe Barton: Why People Despise Politics As Usual More Than Ever

Texas Congressman Joe Barton's ridiculous apology to BP for being "forced" to set up a 20 billion dollar fund to help pay for some of the damages from the spill has been written about just about everywhere but when you watch this is there a more perfect example of why people are so fed up with bought and paid for politicians?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Can We Stick A Fork In Him Yet?

One day before the primary election can we finally stick a fork in the run for Governor of "Tea Party" candidate Gordon Howie? His failure to stay current on his taxes has been in the news for a while and now Bob Mercer lets us in on another Howie tactic.

In an obvious attempt to get around South Dakota election rules calling for $4000 annual limits on individual donations, Howie laundered tens of thousands of dollars from single donors by using various pro-Howie PAC's which don't have those limits. (he's not alone on this by the way as Mercer points out and Howie fails to mention)
Howie went even beyond what was done for Heidepriem in the use of laundering PACs. In April, Howie established a half-dozen new PACs.

Those PACs and two other pro-Howie PACs were used by a Rapid City couple, Gary and April Wenzel, to ship about $140,000 from the Wenzels to Howie's campaign.
So what does Howie have to say about this latest news? Well in typical Tea Party fashion he doesn't come out and deny that he funneled the money into his campaign war chest or try to explain why he chose to circumvent election reforms, he instead blames the media for attacking him while wondering why they weren't calling out the likes of George Soros.
Well, the ever diligent media is beginning to prepare the next attack... The first stories are appearing in the blogsphere today with the question "Are some candidates abusing the PAC system?" and alleging that I may be the worst offender by "laundering" contributions through the PACs... and that this is a new way candidates are "bought and paid for".

I wonder where they have been as George Soros has spent millions of dollars advancing liberal agendas?
When they begin to assail the commitment of those who have made a significant contribution to the cause of liberty, freedom and good (conservative) government, are they mindful that our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for their country?

Why then should patriotic men and women of today be somehow barred from such a commitment? Perhaps because their sacrifices are in pursuit of an agenda unlike that of Mr. Soros??

Would it be fair to examine the financial contributions of those in the media? If we did, we would either find them supporting a left-leaning agenda, or not making any contribution at all, under the guise of being "un-biased"
Yep, that Tea Party sure is cleaning up the political process isn't it but I do like how he shoe horned the Tea Party buzzword "patriotic" in there as if circumventing election law was somehow patriotic .

Rush Married For 4th Time

Anyone else find it funny that Conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh, whom has such wonderful quotes attributed to him as "When a gay person turns his back on you, it is anything but an insult; it's an invitation", hired Elton John to play at his 4th wedding?

And maybe even more surprising is that John agreed to perform...