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Ted Cruz Problem: He Does Not Have Support From Needed GOP Elites

March 24, 2015

What are we to make of the announcement from Senator Ted Cruz concerning his bid for the Republican Party nomination for the White House?

This blogger has no problem answering that question in a concise fashion.

Cruz has a very small chance to win, and perhaps more to the point no chance at all.

I have followed politics my entire life, and read far too much about this topic given all the other curiosities I have that needs to be explored.   But from what I have learned along the way there is no way to get a political nomination unless the party elites are in your camp.  They are the ones who make sure the funds for the long haul are massed and ready to be used.  They are the ones who pony up the staff who are ready to use their expertise to make a race successful.  The elites also do something that a person like Cruz can never do for himself.  Lend credibility to a candidate who is in dire need of it.

Instead of ingratiating himself with the Republican Party Cruz has went out of his to irritate it and challenge it in ways that has destroyed any sense of fondness or respect for the now presidential hopeful.  No one in the Republican Senate Caucus has a colder reaction offered to them than Cruz.  That is simply not the position from which one starts a successful presidential election.

Video Of How Decorah Eagles Dealt With Today’s Heavy Wet Snow

March 23, 2015

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Still Troubling Even Though Legal

March 23, 2015

At the end of the day when all the partisan rhetoric has ebbed away, and the rancor of legal maneuvers are completed, and all minds can calmly reflect about the Wisconsin voter ID law one central truth will remain.

The entire episode in our state involved searching for a solution to a non-existent problem.

There is no more of an honest way to state the truth.

Whatever political stripe we label ourselves at the end of the day, in that quiet space which is all our own, there is just no way to justify the law.  That is so simply because there was no need for the law.

I certainly had hoped the U.S. Supreme Court might find reason to hear the complaint about the law, but that is not to be.   The court Monday turned away a challenge to the law after having blocked the state from requiring photo IDs in last November’s general election.

So the legal journey seems to be over on this matter.

Anyone who has followed the debate here or around the nation when it comes to voter identification laws know this has far more to do with partisan moves by Republicans who seek a solution in search of a problem. There was no evidence of voter fraud that necessitated the draconian move of enacting a voter ID law in our state.  Instead the sole purpose of enacting  the voter ID law remains a tactic to undermine the rights of citizens, especially certain demographics from having easy access to a most basic constitutional right.

What Wisconsin Republicans can not come to grips with are the facts about voting in this state.  There is not now, nor has there ever been, a long list of offenders when it comes to election fraud in the Badger State.

No Republican was able to stand up in the legislature and produce any court cases, judge’s rulings, or names of those who cast fraudulent votes.  If there was such rampant voting abuses why did the attorney general not intervene?

The reason is that the GOP spun voter fraud as a means to undermine Democratic voting, not due to any voter fraud problem that needed a remedy.  The lack of any court records or media reporting of such election abuses around the state underscores the lack of credibility for the Republicans with this issue.

My readers do not have to take this fact from a liberal blogger on Madison’s isthmus.  They can instead read the words direct from a federal judge.

United States District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote almost a year ago in a ruling that “The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past.”

Facts seem less important at times than do the perceptions politicians and spin consultants generate.  Much like the weapons of mass destruction within Iraq so are there supposedly streams of voters pretending to be someone else, or voting twice.   If you can just not smile or laugh out loud you too can imagine the throngs of folks using fake aliases to cast a ballot or hear the newscasters speak of the elections that were wrongly decided by all these awful abuses at the voting booth.

All that is blarney, of course.

The only real way to feel at the end of the day regarding how the voter I.D. law was handled in Wisconsin is just sadness.

How did we ever allow our state to be lowered to this point?

Fictional TV Presidents Very Popular

March 23, 2015

Another take on our political culture.

Whether it’s the earnest Josiah Bartlet from “The West Wing” or the manipulative Frank Underwood in “House of Cards,” Americans prefer television presidents to their real-life POTUS, President Barack “No Drama” Obama.

A Reuters-Ipsos poll taken this month found 54 percent of Americans held an unfavorable opinion of Obama, known for his cool and cautious presidential style, while 46 percent were favorable.

In contrast, asked to imagine that David Palmer of “24” was president, 89 percent of those who had seen the real-time Fox counterterrorism drama said they held a favorable rating of the decisive president played by Dennis Haysbert.

Martin Sheen’s Jed Bartlet of “The West Wing” – beloved by Democrats, including many who work in Obama’s White House – was rated favorably by 82 percent of its NBC viewers.

In the dark universe of “Battlestar Galactica” on SyFy, president Laura Roslin, played by Mary McDonnell, drew a 78 percent favorable rating among fans of her quest to find earth and escape the Cylons, a race of humanoid killer robots.

With Americans sharply divided along partisan lines, it is unlikely that any real-life president could achieve sky-high favorability ratings, said Tevi Troy, a presidential historian and author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted,” a study of popular culture in the White House.

“Pretty much half the country is going to be predisposed against you just because that’s the way we line up with Republicans and Democrats,” Troy said.

Jews4Cruz Or “Lincoln And The Jews”?

March 23, 2015

If one wanted to experience something Republican in New York today would it be a high-priced fundraiser titled Jews4Cruz or might you instead be interested in attending a historical look at one side of the president I believe to be the most important person to win the White House?

Yup, me too.

As the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln approaches, the New-York Historical Society is looking back at the iconic president’s legacy through the lens of his relationship with the Jewish people.  

“Lincoln and the Jews,” which opened Friday, features rare letters, photos, paintings and objects that tell the story of Lincoln’s rise to power, his friendship and support of Jews, and the history of the first wave of Jews in America. 

During the Civil War, Lincoln became close friends and allies with many Jews despite the fact that less than 1 percent of Americans were Jewish, the exhibit explains.

While anti-Semitism ran rampant during the 1860s, Lincoln’s perspective made sense for the legendary leader, said Harold Holzer, the chief historian for the exhibit. 

“In a way it’s surprising, but in another way it’s not surprising,” Holzer said. “He was not prejudiced against African Americans; he was advanced beyond the overwhelming majority of people of the day in terms of racial prejudice.”

On the other hand, Holzer reminds visitors that Lincoln’s views were based on what worked politically. 

“Abraham Lincoln liked Republicans and he liked people who were going to be part of the big tent, which included progressives, abolitionists, lots of Germans who had come here after the revolutions of 1848 and these included Jews,” he said. 

However, Lincoln was openly defamatory to Irish immigrants, penning derogatory articles about them, Holzer noted. The Irish were almost universally Democrats, helping to explain Lincoln’s attitude toward them.

“He was a real politician,” Holzer said.

The exhibit begins with Lincoln’s rise to power, aided by the help of his Jewish friend Abraham Jonas, including letters between the two about his early loss of the Illinois Senate seat. 

It quickly delves into the defining era of Lincoln’s presidency: the Civil War. 

During war, the Lincoln had to be careful when it came to his relationship and support of Jewish people. His most important generals — Gen. William Sherman and Gen. Ulysses Grant — were both openly anti-Semitic, the exhibit explains. 

“Those two people were prejudiced, but they also won battles — so Lincoln had to tread very carefully,” Holzer said. 

When Grant issued an order expunging Jews from his territory within 24 hours, Lincoln overturned the order via a proxy, sidestepping a direct conflict with the general.

He also decided to allow rabbis to join chaplains in tending to soldiers during the war and to travel with the Union army, another of Lincoln’s defining moments as a friend to the Jewish people.

The end of the exhibit focuses on one of the last wishes Lincoln expressed before his death: to travel to the Holy Land and see Jerusalem. 

Barney Frank Speaks About Closeted Gays In Congress

March 23, 2015

Hypocrisy is the key argument.

But I would take a step further than the political one Frank makes and argue that living life authentically is vitally important to being healthy, and that there is also something most important to be said for holding out a light so to make a path easier for others.

Frank, who is openly gay, has no qualms with these members staying in the closet as long as they are “supportive of legal protections” for homosexuals.

“The issue where they lose me is hypocrisy,” Frank told CNN’s Gloria Borger on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”

“What I think is unacceptable is to vote a certain set of rules as an elected official and then to violate them yourself. But if you are a Democrat, Republican, whatever, and you vote to allow people to do what you do, then I have no demand that you become public,” he said.

H. R. “Bob” Haldeman And John Ehrlichman Still Making Trouble For America

March 23, 2015

Hat Tip to John Taylor.

I excerpted passages from a long and troubling article that underscores how religion and political power are two entities that should not mix.

In 1971, presidential hopeful Senator Walter Mondale (D-Minnesota) created the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Youth, a power base from which he would mobilize Congress to protect children. In 1972, the subcommittee published a book titled “Rights of Children,” setting the stage for Mondale’s seminal piece of legislation: the Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act (CAPTA).

Although he had frequently butted heads with Richard Nixon, Mondale eventually got the legislation he wanted. “Not even Richard Nixon is in favor of child abuse!” he quipped. Mondale’s  bill allocated $86 million for a center within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now the Department of Health and Human  Services) that  would compile a  list of  accidents involving children, publish training materials for case workers, and create a national commission to study the effectiveness of state surveillance. By the mid-1970s, all fifty states had mandatory child-abuse-reporting laws.

The impact was immediate. In  1963,  public authorities had identified more than a hundred thousand cases of child abuse; by 1982, the number had climbed to 1.3 million. Advocates hailed the new legislation as a watershed event for children’s  rights. But not everyone was celebrating. One group saw the legislation as a direct threat to its way of life. And it was going to do everything it could to exempt itself from public scrutiny.


Although the Watergate scandal consumed much of their efforts from June 1972 until their resignations on April 30, 1973, Haldeman and Ehrlichman still had enough time to insert a religious exemption into CAPTA: “No parent or guardian who in good faith is providing a child treatment solely by spiritual means—such as prayer—according to the tenets and practices of a recognized church through a duly accredited practitioner shall for that reason alone be considered to have neglected the child.”

Haldeman and Ehrlichman had tipped their hand; only Christian Scientists would refer to their prayers as treatments and to faith healers as practitioners; and only the Christian Science Church accredits its healers.

Now, if state officials didn’t abide by Haldeman and Ehrlichman’s mandate,  they couldn’t  receive money from Mondale’s  program; within a few years, forty-nine states (the exception being Nebraska) and the District of Columbia had laws protecting religiously motivated medical neglect. By 1984, the Department of Health and Human Services, realizing the absurdity of the mandate, eliminated it. But it was too late. The damage had been done.


The problem created by Haldeman and Ehrlichman continues. As of 2013, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia still had religious exemptions for child abuse in their civil codes, and seventeen had religious exemptions for felony crimes. In the end, these ambiguities benefit no one. Not children, who may be denied life-saving therapies. Not  parents, who remain uncertain about when the line is crossed to criminal behavior. Not prosecutors, who are often unclear about what constitutes medical neglect. And not society, which is charged with protecting its youngest, most vulnerable members. The issue won’t  be resolved until  all fifty states eliminate religious exemptions from both civil and criminal child abuse statutes.


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