Brian Hagedorn Wrong About Gay People, Wrong For Wisconsin Supreme Court

Brian Hagedorn clearly does not have gay friends.

After reading the news today about the candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court it strikes me that perhaps he has never actually sat and talked with a gay person.  There is no way that he could have had interactions with gay men and women and then sat at a computer and composed the hateful, and ridiculous views which made headlines.  

As many readers know Wisconsin has a court race this April. The GOP for weeks have registered their concerns about his abilities at the polls.  The news breaking over the state today proves their point.

Hagedorn wrote a blog beginning in 2005 in which he addressed readers as “fellow soldiers in the culture wars” while posting sometimes provocative comments on homosexuality and abortion.

For example, Hagedorn twice wrote that a landmark gay rights ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down a Texas anti-sodomy law could lead to the legalization of bestiality, sex with animals, in America. 

“The idea that homosexual behavior is different than bestiality as a constitutional matter is unjustifiable,” he wrote in October 2005.

Lawmakers could draw a distinction between same-sex relationships and bestiality as a matter of public policy, Hagedorn wrote. But he called the Supreme Court’s decision overturning anti-sodomy laws a travesty that “should render laws prohibiting bestiality unconstitutional.”

“There is no right in our Constitution to have sex with whoever or whatever you want in the privacy of your own home (or barn),” he wrote.

Speaking of barns, let us also be clear what constitutes dung.

What created the darkness within Hagedorn, or what appeals to his desire to use homosexuality as a wedge issue, is something that he will need to deal with in therapy.  What I know, along with the majority in this state, is that the vile words and legal harbors that he tries to create for unconstitutional views must not be allowed to gain traction on our high court.

Wrapping up in right-wing political Christianity is not how most voters wish their judicial candidates to appear.  Pretending that the wrap can come off and allow for objective and rational legal reasoning on the bench is a leap that the voters of this state must not entertain.

As a 56-year-old gay man, in a 19-year relationship, I have had a few decades to think about the strides gay people have made with civil rights and legal rulings.  I have also had time to take the measure of people who were strident in their opposition to gay rights.  The biggest protesters come to see their views relegated to the trash bin of history.

From work to play, from grocery shopping, going to church, being a member of a neighborhood association, gay people have put faces to the issue, and in so doing, have helped persuade society towards a more healthy way of viewing our legal rights.  What I find most troubling, and deeply concerning, is to have attempts made with dark political calculations aimed at trying to foster renewed bigotry or animus against gay people.  I sincerely hope that Wisconsin Republicans, and true conservatives, can step up and denounce what Hagedorn has put into words.

Having grown up in rural conservative Waushara County I have seen both sides of the arc of history when it comes to gay rights.  I never thought it possible when being continually bullied in high school for being gay, or dealing with the suicide of my gay friend who was also bullied, that there would come a day when marriage rights would be the law of the land, or gay couples would dance at junior proms.

People of my generation know that we put one gay face at a time in every setting, from family reunions to every profession in this land, and demanded changes.  And it worked.  Therefore, we must not allow one face–that of Hagedorn–to be allowed to interject bigotry back into electoral politics or from the high bench.

Anyone who equates homosexuality and bestiality does not belong on our bowling team, let alone the high court!

This Is What We Now Expect From Donald Trump

Donald Trump today claimed that his intelligence chiefs told him that they were misquoted when they publicly contradicted him during public on-camera testimony.

Said Trump: “They said they were totally misquoted and totally taken out of context. They said it was fake news.”

He made this argument even though a full report and recordings of the testimony are publicly available.  C-SPAN must have created hours of fiction!!  They probably did this creation on the same set as the moon landing.

Now Trump is denying what was recorded on video and witnessed by many citizens in the nation, and viewers around the world. Trump doesn’t even care that he is obviously lying, he is more concerned with appearing to put his minions in their proper place.  It must be hell to work for such a deranged narcissist.

Now get the lie that is being attempted.  The intel chiefs were “misquoted” by the media after they testified in an OPEN hearing!

Trump is a moron, but does he really think the whole nation is as simple-minded as he is?  This is just more proof that Trump has no shame. More proof that Trump lies continuously. (Shhhh….do not tell Franklin Graham.)

Trump Feuds With Facts

If George Washington had Donald Trump’s views the United states would still be a British colony.  If the long line of other Presidents of the United States who followed Washington had Trump’s views of the Intel Community, the USA would be long gone.

A growing number of Republicans are now openly scoffing at Trump’s handling of national security issues, with the Senate’s number two Republican bashing Trump’s criticism of the heads of the US intelligence community.  This is all taking place ahead of a vote on a measure disapproving Trump’s Middle East policy. The the GOP-led chamber prepares to vote on an amendment breaking with Trump’s plans to pull the U.S. military away from Syria and Afghanistan

If you missed it—here is the rebuke that matters the most this week.  And it comes from Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate majority whip.

I don’t know how many times you can say this, but I prefer the President would stay off Twitter — particularly with regard to these important national security issues where you’ve got people who are experts and have the background and are professionals. I think in those cases when it comes to their judgment, take into consideration what they’re saying. … I think we need to trust their judgment.

What we heard from the top Intel leaders, and then what Trumps spouts, is most alarming.  And the picture this latest report presented thus week paints makes one thing stunningly clear: Trump’s major foreign policy positions are not based in reality.  (I know, you are shocked, too.)

Trump’s feud with his national security experts has already extended into Congress, where lawmakers from both parties have mostly sided with the intelligence community and been critical of the president’s skepticism of it.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell, in a rare break with the president, proposed an amendment acknowledging the continued threat of terror groups like the Islamic State and opposing a premature withdrawal of troops.

I hold to the view that the checks and balances will stand firm and will continue to be rooted deeply.  We will make if past this dreadful time in our national story.  We will survive Donald Trump.  But we must also accept the fact major damage is being done to international relations–issues that angry white men who voted for Trump have not a clue about.  Or care to learn about.

Gloating, Running For Cover Regarding Foxconn Is Most Sad

It was not only the bitter arctic air which took away the breath of Wisconsinites Wednesday.   Following the news Foxconn will be changing its scope of operation in the state some Democrats gloated about the seemingly failed investment plan, while Republican leadership at the Capitol ducked for political cover.  Meanwhile, the average citizen hoping for a vibrant and future-oriented economic foundation, which Foxconn promised, are left out in the cold.

Various news reports had differing interpretations of what Foxconn has in mind for its Southeast Wisconsin operations.  Reuters reported that Foxconn now intends to hire mostly engineers and researchers rather than the manufacturing workforce the project originally promised.

For months the future of the planned Wisconsin Foxconn operations made for news on the business pages of not only state papers, but in many column inches in the national press.  China’s national economy is shrinking, and the international trade battle created during the Trump presidency continues.  And like every other business it is constrained by the economic and political need to maintain and create new jobs.

If you live in (especially) Southern Wisconsin there has been no shortage of news reports over the past couple years concerning the controversial state and local incentives for the Foxconn project.  The plan was first sold as a plant to manufacture advanced large screen displays for TVs.  That was later modified to build smaller LCD screens.  With the news today it is unclear what the end results will be for economic gains for the state.

That in, and of itself, should be the main news of the day about this matter.   But in the face of several differing reports about the future plans for Foxconn comes the glaring politicization of what can only be summed up as a loss for the state.  Within minutes of the news reports my Facebook page was alive with gleeful comments about the failure of our state’s investment.  Some Democrats could not cackle loud enough about the reports of failure.

On the other side of the aisle top state Republican leaders were placing the blame for Foxconn’s action on their new boogeyman, Governor Tony Evers.

“We don’t blame Foxconn for altering plans in an ever-changing technology business. It’s also not surprising Foxconn would rethink building a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin under the Evers Administration,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a joint statement about the company’s plans.

From the start I was truly optimistic regarding Foxconn.  I felt all along the idea was precisely what Wisconsin needed so to get a strong foothold in the 21st century.  Incentive plans which include tax deals to sweeten the pot is just the reality of how public and private interests now need to work to ensure great strides are made for economic development.

After all, packaging state resources into a powerful program to create jobs over a wide array of communities is the smartest thing to have emerged from our statehouse in a very long time.  

I genuinely believe this is a plan that will not only create jobs, but lift spirits, and allow for a larger part of the state to also receive benefits from other investments.  For instance, I am heartened to learn the ways UW-Madison is seeking research relationships with Foxconn.  With that in mind, I would love to see this legislature also pass a meaningful venture capital bill to help seed the new ideas and small businesses that can be spun off from the Foxconn deal.  I do not wish to think small anymore when it comes to where we might head economically in our state.

So when the large idea seems to be floundering and disappearing I am just mighty sad to see that both sides of the aisle turn to their usual partisan homes.  In so doing they miss the fact that we lost something what would have made our state much sounder, and our future more secure.

I am most saddened by the reaction of too many of my fellow Democrats today.  Over and over during the election season Democrats correctly talked about those who do not have the job they wish, are under-employed, or are unable to meet their needs because of wages that are too low.  Many of those struggling are parents, however, who grasped the fact the jobs of the future for their children are the type that Foxconn would have brought to the state.  In addition we need to also calculate those jobs that would have been created as spin-offs.  And the educational gains made at our higher learning institutions.

Tonight the lofty goals we once hoped for as a state seem to be slipping away.  Perhaps pretty much all gone.

But at least we have partisan rhetoric to keep us warm.

Dad’s Saying Still Resonates About Sunshine

As Wisconsin, and many parts of the country, deal with the coldest temperatures in a generation (or more) comes a reason for a smile.  It was -22 at 6 A.M. this morning at our home.

My dad always said that even in the worst of winter one could never discount the ‘punch of the sun’.  Usually that meant to him the power of the sun to melt snow piles that had taken over the lawn once we were into the middle part of February, and the winter season was just weeks off from slipping away.

Today as I made a late breakfast I looked at our console which records the temperatures for the various thermometers we have around our home.  (Yes, we are nerds).   And I thought of dad.

While on the back porch, and in the shade one reads-10, the one placed on the coffin porch, and in the bright and glorious sunshine which is beating off the house, reads 21 degrees.  It should be noted that once the sunshine is gone the two thermometers will be within a couple tenths-of-a- degree again.  They usually record the same temperature.

The ‘punch of the sun’ may be noted on the thermometer, and even felt to some extent as I poked my head out that door with the side of the home bathed in sunlight.  But there is no way to make the same comment when stepping out onto the back shaded porch.    It is just blasted cold outside.

But there is hope in the air, right?   And another reason for a smile here today.

Thanks, dad.

(If anyone is curious the basement and entryway temperature readings are also recorded as seen in the photo.  Since this is a Victorian home built in 1892–without insulation—and still is that way–I will let you guess how they break down with locations……..LOL.   We keep the sweater industry profitable.  But in all candor we would not change a thing as we love our home and live in it the way it was built to be enjoyed.)

Howard Schultz Has Intelligence But Needs A Message

I readily admit to having positive thoughts about Hoard Schultz after watching the 60 Minutes segment where he spoke about his desire to launch a bid for the presidency.  I am always willing to give a person with a skilled approach to communicating a listen.  Clearly, the man is smart.  His ability to converse and carry a conversation is a measure of his intelligence.

While there has been a constant drumbeat from Democrats, concerning how he would split the vote and help elect another term for Donald Trump, I would urge for some deeper reflection.  There is a long way to go before the 2020 election, and plenty of time to listen to a wide variety of views and perspectives.   There is also more than ample time for a number of surprises to take place which will greatly impact who the nominees of the parties will be for the general election.  For instance, I am not at all sure Trump will even seek another term.  The question no one seems able to answer is why would he seek another term?

It is very true third party candidates have thrown the election in the past to weaker and flawed candidates, such as in 1992 and 2000. We simply can not allow for a scenario where that would happen in 2020.  Trump is, after all, a complete and unmitigated disaster of the likes we have never seen.   There is absolutely no way this nation can again elect him president.  (Should he decide to run.)

But having such views should not preclude us from hearing ideas and listening to candidates from all points of the compass who also fully understand why Trump must be stopped.  Schultz knows from a business perspective that it is important to have a winning message, and it will be even more important to sell his views and ideas as a prospective candidate.

As I spent part of my snowy Monday listening to Schultz on interview programs, and reflecting on what I know of the nation and politics, leads me to ponder those voters who are socially liberal and economically conservative.  What are they thinking when some parts of the Democratic Party lean hard to socialist policy goals?  That very well may be a central part of the message he offers to the nation.

Up to now it seems that Schultz is more interested about the idea of running rather than having a forceful reason to run.   That will need to change, and at once.  Some will scorn his stepping into the political waters.  But I will give time so to hear him speak and address an electorate that has been ripped and shredded by Trump’s behavior.

My UW-Stevens Point Post Makes Top Story At Urban Milwaukee

I am pleased–on this snowy and wintry day in Wisconsin–to report that my blog post regarding the liberal arts programs at UW-Stevens Point was the most popular article in the past week at Urban Milwaukee.

I am glad my words resonated with readers from around the state.   It was on days like this back in Hancock when snow would be piling up around the back door that I would be hunkered down with a book.  And listening to WGN talk-radio.  (A picture of my family home on County KK in Hancock is featured this week on the header to this blog.)

I have always thrilled to learning new things, and expounding on issues that deserve to be elevated in our national dialogue.

This blog has been a perfect vehicle for allowing the issues which interest me to find a connection with others.  Thanks for being a part of the ‘conversation’.

Dome Over Alaska Before Wall On Southern Border?

For pure drama it rates right up there with teargassing women with children on the Southern border.

United States and Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for the North American coastline.  That might sound like the opening minutes of a Hollywood thriller. But the fact it did happen should set off concerns about what message it was meant to send by the Kremlin.  After all, things of this nature do not just happen, they are used to foster a larger theme at play.

Two F-22 and two CF-18 jets identified the Russian nuclear-capable aircraft when they entered an area near Alaska patrolled by the Royal Canadian Air Force. That information was supplied by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).    That organization patrols the skies above the US and Canada using radar, satellites and fighter aircraft .  The US Air Force sent planes from its air base in Alaska.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred.  In September US Air Force fighter jets were twice forced to intercept two Russian bombers off Alaska.

The reason this matter dovetails with what was posted just hours ago on this blog.

Today on Face The Nation there was a short, and perfect summation about how Trump is missing the larger and very serious national security concerns by focusing on racial fears for partisan purposes.  David Sanger, reporter for The New York Times, nailed the ineffectiveness of Trump when thinking about the national security needs of the nation.

And especially in light of the news breaking today about Russian jets.

I think– perhaps the most important, was the strategic cost. It really revealed, apart from the President’s sort of huge– uselessness of the exercise, it revealed an inability by this administration to prioritize about what our true security threats. Think of what Mick Mulvaney said to you. He said, “The President takes seriously– takes security at the nation– of the nation as his highest priority.” Well, on Tuesday, his intelligence chiefs are going to go out and do that annual exercise of laying out the security threats to– to the country, right, in an unclassified briefing. If it’s like the past five years, you know, cyber is number one, terrorism is number two, nuclear proliferation, rise of China, aggressiveness by Vladimir Putin, you get to border issues around page fourteen of last year’s, and, yet, he has spoken very little about the others.