The following is an op-ed I wrote some time ago that was edited slightly and then published by the Des Moines Register.Â After turning on the television, which was tuned to MTV, while babysitting my young niece and nephew recently I was reminded how unfortunately relevant this piece still is.Â The sections which are redacted below are ones that the Register was uncomfortable printing.Â This perhaps make the point most poignantly.
The following words were spoken on the floor of the U.S senate by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin in the heat of the recent debate on The Fairness Doctrine:
It takes away the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to basically determine that radio and television stations use their Federal licenses in the public interest.Â What does this mean?Â It means that the FCC can tell a television station it cannot put on a violent movie early on Saturday morning when kids are tuning into cartoons.Â It cannot put on something with sexual tones in it at a time when children and family are watching.
Heartwarming isnâ€™t it. Â Well it seems Mr. Durbin has not taken a look at his local T.V. menu lately.Â On my T.V. menu, here in Ankeny, Iowa, on the very day that Mr. Durbin spoke the above words, this is a sampling of what I found in the after school time slots of 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
At 3:00 p.m. on MTV (Direct TV channel 331) we have a program called â€œSexâ€¦With Mom and Dad.â€Â On todayâ€™s episode of this show we meet Natasha, a nineteen year old California girl who is self-described as a â€œparty girl who is not afraid to experiment.â€Â She tells us that sheÂ
********************************************** at fifteen, and is having problems in her relationship with her single fatherâ€”wait for it . . . â€”because she slept with one of his co-workers!
At 4:00 p.m., also on MTV (DTV channel 331), we have a show called â€œRoom Raidersâ€ where another nineteen year old girl is going through the bedrooms of three guys to decide who she is going to go out on a date with.Â In the first guyâ€™s room we all have a good chuckle when she finds some female oral contraceptives in his night stand.Â In the second guyâ€™s room she takes a magnifying glass to his bed sheets to find and then comment on the ********************** she sees.Â Fantastic.Â So maybe this is not your thing.Â Never fear you can also turn over to the gay, lesbian and trans-gendered network LOGO (yes, you do likely have this channel-DTV ch.272), whose midday offering is a 12:30 to 4:30 marathon of â€œRuPaulâ€™s Drag Race,â€ in which a variety of gay and trans-gendered contestants vie to see who is the best drag queen.
This is but a small sampling of content that parents must be made aware, I could go on ad nauseam with examples but itâ€™s safe to assume the point has been made.Â When we dig a little deeper into this we find every one of these shows comes from the same source, a company called Viacom.
Allow me to do the honors and introduce you to one Sumner Redstone.Â You likely are unfamiliar with him, but if you have any pre-teen or teenage children he has been trying to familiarize himself with them for years.
You see Mr. Redstone is the owner of Viacom, and thus is singularly responsible for a jaw-dropping amount of immoral garbage, not just in the aforementioned time slots but, unmercifully, around the clock.Â Also disturbing is that along with owning CBS, Paramount Pictures, Blockbuster Video (majority stock holder), MTV, MTV 2, VH1, CMT, and the gay, lesbian, trans-gendered LOGO network, Viacom, ironically, also owns Nickelodeon.Â Making matters worse is the fact that the stated demographic audience for MTV, MTV 2 and VH1 is 12-34 years of age (yes this is not a misprint, I said 12 years old).Â This age group is deemed very valuable to marketers because â€“ you guessed it, they are by nature very impressionable and have a longer future consumer life.
Shining the light on Viacom and these types of shows is long overdue, for only with knowledge can we have action.Â I have a feeling the average American parent has no idea that this is going on, that a broadcaster would or could so brazenly put on shows, squarely aimed at their children,Â in after school time slots that teachers would get fired for putting on at school.Â Though it seems hard to believe I assure you that it is in fact occurring.Â Even if it means recording these shows with your DVR, I encourage parents of any aged children, not to take my word for it but to go to these channels (all of which are provided above) and become aware of this content themselves.
It is not my purpose to blame anyone for ignorance on this matter, and to the contrary maybe we all deserve a break on this one.Â Looking back at what was on the air when many of us were coming of age is very interesting.Â Those currently around the age of 70 had â€œThe Whistling Wizardâ€ and â€œHowdy Doody,â€ those around 60 had â€œThe Millionaireâ€ and â€œAmerican Bandstand,â€ 50 or so saw shows like â€œThe Beverly Hillbillyâ€™sâ€ and â€œThe Andy Griffin Show,â€ and if you are between 35-40 you had choices such as â€œThe Love Boatâ€ and â€œThe Jeffersonâ€™s.â€Â Quite a far cry from â€œSexâ€¦With Mom and Dad,â€ wouldnâ€™t you say.
Since I suspect most of you parents out there do not condone sexually-charged, immorally bizarre programs being offered up to your children by Viacom and others, and clearly the regulating bodies are not looking out for your â€œpublic interest,â€ I urge all of you to contact your cable providers and, in the least, use your remote controlâ€™s parental blocking features.Â In many ways this is a unique opportunity.Â In a climate that too often finds us deeply divided on one political issue or another, this might be about as close to a shot at consensus as we get. Let us not lose the ability to at least stand up, and stand together when we can.
Finally here is a chance to act in the interest of not only our children, but plain common decency.Â Finally, here is something that we donâ€™t get much of these daysâ€¦something we can agree on.
The post Finallyâ€¦ Something We Can Agree On appeared first on The Conservative Reader.
I recently heard a radio commercial urging me to contact various members of Congress to voice my support for tax credits connected to the wind energy industry. On a lark, I went to the Iowa Legislature website and searched active bills for the word â€œwind,â€ and received several dozen hits, many of which seemed to be focused on state tax credits for manufacturing and installing wind turbines. Both state and federal politicians seem to be tripping over themselves to get into the wind energy craze.
Back in 2010 Alliant Energy was petitioning to be allowed to increase the rates they charged for electricity, and one of the supporting reasons they put forward was the $150 million project called the Whispering Willow-East wind farm in Franklin county. This was big news in Newton, where I was living at the time, as Newton is both the location of some wind turbine manufacturers, and within the area that would be affected by the rate increase.
This serves as perhaps a perfect litmus test for how people think about economics. If you are a progressive or a neo-Keynesian, then your reaction is likely to be that this is entirely appropriate; these wind farms are being built for our benefit, so of course we must pay. If you are an environmentalist or a socialist, then, of course electricity should cost more in your mind. As you are increasing your standard of living, at the unfair expense of the environment or the proletariat, it would be akin to questioning whether people should be locked up for committing assault, wouldnâ€™t it?
If you believe in Austrian economics, or just in free-market pricing in general, then this situation would seem a bit odd. The supply of electricity is presumably increasing because of new wind farms. Increases in supply tend to reduce pressure on prices, not cause them to increase. Yet here, the new wind projects are being cited as a reason to increase the rates per kilowatt hour to the end users. They have built a wind farm, and now demand to pay for it by charging more for electricity still produced mainly by coal which could have been provided for the old price if they hadnâ€˜t bothered to build the wind farm.
That is how capital investment works; if you couldnâ€™t make money by building houses in the current market, but you build a bunch of houses anyway, it doesnâ€™t cause the price of houses to go up. Wind energy doesnâ€™t seem to follow the script of wealth creation.
The rule of thumb seems to be that a wind turbine costs about $1 million per nameplate megawatt of capacity, so if a turbine has 3 megawatts of stated capacity then it would cost about $3 million. Then you have to factor in what the industry refers to as the â€œcapacity factor,â€ which is the percentage of the nameplate capacity that the turbine actually produces, and in Iowa the capacity factor is said to be about thirty percent. In plain terms, that means that if you want one megawatt of electricity, you need a three-megawatt wind turbine. However, it isnâ€™t as simple as that. Although Iowa might be the â€œSaudi Arabia of Windâ€ – proclaimed as such by people who have likely never been to Saudi Arabia, nor had difficulty paying their electric bills – our winds are not constant.
When the wind doesnâ€™t blow, the turbines donâ€™t turn. The same is true for when the wind is too strong – wind turbines are equipped with a braking mechanism to stop them during high winds. If that brake fails, the turbine blades can rattle the entire tower to pieces, if the generator doesnâ€™t catch on fire first – which you should look up on the internet because it is an interesting sight.
As a result of all the shortcomings of wind turbines, wind power costs about $90 per megawatt hour, compared to about $60 per megawatt hour for coal and even less than that for natural gas-generated electricity, yet we are told we need to fill our skylines with expensive wind turbines which spend most of their lives perfectly still and producing nothing – and then charge us for the cost of the electricity these intensely ugly things donâ€™t produce. The Iowa Wind Energy Association has a goal to increase Iowaâ€™s wind capacity from 4,500 megawatts to 20,000 megawatts by 2030 – so we can enjoy 6,000 megawatts of electricity doled out in intermittent intervals.
Germany announced its intent to decommission all of its nuclear power stations after the Fukushima incident, and the German government has been very supportive of wind energy, but not a single coal plant has been shut down. In fact, Germany is replacing its nuclear capacity with new coal power plants – as many as 26 new coal power plants are planned. The wind, like the sea, is a fickle lover as it would seem.
According to wind energy supporters, expanding wind energy creates jobs, and therefore none of the shortcomings in the technology or the economics are considered to matter. This attitude seems to be the source of the consensus among political leaders – or at least the appearance of consensus – as politicians go along with the wind energy movement lest they be accused of being â€œagainst jobs.â€ There are even pictures of wind turbines on Iowaâ€™s new driverâ€™s license design.
The wind energy addiction will end up being much the same as the other fads. State and federal tax credits, grants, and green energy targets are directing capital towards these wind energy projects. The jobs created in the short term are visible to politicians seeking reelection, but the damage is diffused across the entire economy and the effects wonâ€™t be felt until later. They can see the turbine blades going down the interstate, but not the higher utility bills of their constituents – including employers – nor the layoffs when the negative financial effects become impossible to ignore. Americans are too broke to pay for expensive wind-generated electricity, governments are too broke to continue subsidizing these projects, and the economy is too broke to carry an industrial sector which generates no profits, no useable increases in electricity, and no discernable tax revenue.
Wind turbines donâ€™t increase the standard of living; in fact they seem to make energy more expensive. They only work intermittently, wear out rather quickly without expensive maintenance, and are heavily dependent on government credits and grants for their manufacture and installation. They have also been known to kill eagles, which is reason enough to hate anything.
The future might be filled with wind turbines, but that wonâ€™t be a positive thing. They are too expensive and too underproductive to provide electricity in quantities and at prices that are necessary to make them profitable. Elected officials at all levels need to move past the rhetoric of the wind energy craze and do their own research into this matter.
Unless they do so, they have no business voting to appropriate public funds to support the construction of more public relations kitsch at $1 million per nameplate megawatt. Even now attention is turning towards natural gas as the real driver of future energy production while a combination of better exploration techniques and hydraulic fracturing makes natural gas properly cheap.
Alliant itself is looking at building a new natural gas power plant – in Iowa.
If ever there is going to be a moment for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to create momentum and change the flat trajectory of his presidential runâ€”now is the time. One day after the release of a Fox News poll, which surprisingly showed him gaining substantial ground in the race, Gingrich took to the stage at the Principal building in Des Moines to unveil his newly minted â€œ21st Century Contract with Americaâ€.
Updated from the 1994 version, this new contract will serve as the backbone of his campaign and its acceptance or rejection will determine his fate one way or the other.
In the world of presidential politics such fate is largely decided by three thingsâ€”the style, the substance, and the politics. Here is a brief analysis of all three.
By any objective measure this event was a success for the former speaker. It displayed a candidate and a campaign that, at a minimum, is hitting its stride and indeed may be ready to become a major player in the race going forward.
Standing on a small stage at the bottom of a room that can be best described as a large movie theatre, Newt showcased many of the positive characteristics that have marked his long political career. He spoke for an hour without a teleprompter or notes and smoothly communicated his message to the audience while appearing very comfortable in his own skin.
The setting was remarkably similar to a college lecture hall and his experience as a professor no doubt factored into his comfort level. Much like his strong debate performances of late, this setting played to his strengths and the result was a candidate able to speak to a variety of issues in a succinct, relaxed, and presidential fashion.
After being presented the outline for his new â€œcontractâ€, one thing is certainly clearâ€”this is a campaign that will not lack grandeur.
Quickly letting the audience know how high he thinks the stakes are, he explained the reasoning behind the large scale of his vision by saying â€œcountries can die without adequate leadershipâ€.
By and large the 21st Century Contract with America is a sweeping document of declared intent. In most cases the solutions he outlines are intentionally vague as his plan is to slowly codify specifics as the campaign progresses. Following a â€œnational conversionâ€, the aim is to have the contract fully fleshed out by September 27th of next year.
His solutions are largely modern day Conservative Republican fare (not a bad thing), whose main thrusts are to inject simplicity and choice into the dealings that we as citizens have with government. Any American serious about vetting the Republican candidates needs to read through the document on their own (availiable here), but here is an overview on a few major issues.
His first order of business would be to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a free market set of solutions to bring the cost of insurance down. The overall structure of our health care system would basically remain in place while insurance policies would be made portable, able to be purchased across state lines, and able to be optionally blended with personal health savings accounts (even in Medicare and Medicaid). These things along with tort reform and digitalizing medical records would attempt to radically decrease premiums without the use of mandates.
He would work to strengthen Social Security while keeping it at the Federal level and push for a voluntary option for young people to put a portion of their contributions into a Social Security savings account. The owner of this account could then choose to take this money and retire (or not retire) at any age they wished.
Perhaps the most interesting areas of this document come under the headings of taxes and immigration.
His business tax proposals are to reduce the corporate tax to 12.5%, abolish all capital gains and estate taxes, and allow 100% write offs in one year for all new equipment purchases. Personal income taxes would be handled by offering a choice to each citizen to either pay under the current system or file with a newly offered one page option. The one page would consist of taking your income, subtracting a standard deduction, taking a deduction for charitable giving and home ownership (if applicable), and multiplying that number by a single set percentage (which is left unspecified).
The headline on his immigration initiative is that there would be a deadline date for securing the border by January 1st, 2014 (â€œsecureâ€ is left undefined). Though it is not stated the inclusion of a firm date strongly suggests that following â€œsecuringâ€ the border would be some form of amnesty. While a few years ago this idea would have been a non-starter for a large block of Republicans, currently the reality seems to have set in that this type of a trade-off is the only way to deal with this problem and finally move forward.
Skeptics of the recent Gingrich campaign surge could doubt that he has the fiery sizzle to overcome his slow start and existing baggageâ€” and be justified.Â Meanwhile critics of his 21st Century Contract with America could attack the plan for being a little light on specifics (especially since Newt is not prone to lack of minutia)â€”and attack they may.Â That being said, going forward this campaign has many more advantages to exploit than disadvantages to fear.
Here are six factors that point to his candidacy not only continuing to build on its current momentum, but that also have the potential to thrust him into the top three in a short amount of time.
#1) His mastery of the debate format, the reason that he has recently gained ground, will be an ever-growing advantage moving forward.Â As the number of candidates on stage dwindles he will be allotted more and more time and will be more easily compared to the less capable candidates.
#2) Republicans are likely to recognize that a supremely informed, smooth, and skilled debater will neutralize Obamaâ€™s biggest advantage (smooth flowery rhetoric).
#3) Now that he has a specific doctrine to anchor his campaign the focus will shift there and drift away from the personal issues that previously have been sucking up oxygen and damaging his campaign.
#4) A close examination of his policy proposals reveals that he has a large number of Tea Party friendly stances and would garner their support, while not being too linked to them to hurt him in a general election.Â In 2012 Republican politics this is what you call â€œthe sweet spotâ€.
#5) The concepts of personal choice, competition, deadlines, fresh ideas, and lower taxes that are found throughout his platform will all appeal to true political independentsâ€”namely those that voted for Obama last time thinking thatâ€™s what they would be getting.
#6)Â As the race gets closer and more real, Republicans have a track record of deciding on the grounds of experience and perceived wherewithal to winâ€¦McCain anyone?Â Consider thisâ€” itâ€™s easy to make the argument that he is as capable, if not more so, than Mitt Romney, while itâ€™s hard to argue that he is not more Conservative.
The bottom line politically is that Newt stacks up well to the rest of the field in many categories while largely lapping them in depth and substance.Â As the race wears on he, oddly enough, finds himself with many advantages to gain from and plenty of time to do itâ€¦and he certainly doesnâ€™t have to worry about peaking too soon!
In terms of the release of the new contract and the impact it will have on his campaign the analysis is fairly simple.Â The concept of a contract with the American people was a great idea and a brilliant political vehicle in 1994â€¦and it still is in 2011.
Photo Courtesy of Prezography.com
Three weeks removed from ending the third longest legislative session in Iowa history, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with District 35â€™s representative in the Iowa Senateâ€”Republican Jack Whitver. The main focus of our conversation was the results of the 172 day session and the political clouds already forming on the horizon for next yearâ€™s Senatorial get together.
In the interest of adding perspective, here is a brief overview of Senator Whitverâ€™s political and business careers: He joined the Iowa Senate this year by virtue of winning a special election to fill the seat of Larry Noble, first beating five other Republicans in a truncated primary and then defeating Democrat John Calhoun (63%-36%). The district covers most of the northern half of Polk County including the Des Moines suburbs of Ankeny and Johnston, as well as Grimes, Polk City, Alleman, and Elkhart.
He is a former wide receiver for the Iowa State Cyclones and, in addition to being in the Senate, owns a three-location athletic training business called Acceleration Iowa, was the Offensive Coordinator for the Iowa Barnstormers last season, and is a law student at Drake University (no this is not a misprintâ€¦ this is all in the same year).
Â The Interview
At a glance it would be easy to say that the 2011 Iowa legislative session was a disappointment, as it saw high ranking agenda items from both political parties ultimately produce no legislation. As usual, however, the real story lies a few layers beneath the surface and, especially from a Conservative Republican viewpoint, is found by looking at and answering the question of why these things didnâ€™t get done.
Without a doubt, commercial and residential property tax relief was one of the few issues to truly burn white-hot during the session. All three legislative players had a plan on the table prescribing varying levels of aggressiveness in lowering Iowanâ€™s taxes. The Governorâ€™s plan was the most robust, followed by a more temperate approach from House Republicans, while the Senate Democratsâ€™ plan was far tamer than the other two.
Reflecting just how high profile and high priority this issue was, Sen. Whitver regards his â€œnoâ€ vote as the most important one he cast in the session.
â€œI think the vote I am most proud of, and probably the toughest one I took, was on property taxes. That is something I campaigned on and something that needs to be done to help small businesses. The Senate Democrats brought forth a plan that I felt was not a good plan. It wasnâ€™t nearly strong enough to do anything and was a long way away from what the House Republicans and the Governor were proposing. So itâ€™s easy to sit down there and say â€˜Well, itâ€™s on property taxes so I am just going to vote yes and pass it.â€™ I was one of four Republicans that voted no, because I felt it wasnâ€™t good enough, and I donâ€™t want to put my name on a bill, even if it has the right title, if it wasnâ€™t good enough. Because once you pass property tax reform, and itâ€™s not a good bill, then it would be off the table next year, and the year after. So you donâ€™t want to pass it for the sake of passing it.â€
Beyond it being too small, he also saw the Democrat plan as a vehicle to allow local towns and counties to avoid tightening their belts and reducing their property taxes. â€œItâ€™s basically taking our State income tax and our State sales tax and giving it to businesses in the form of a tax creditâ€”as opposed to actually lowering taxes. I wasnâ€™t a big fan of that tax shift.â€
Sharing his philosophy of not settling on this issue, and certainly providing some welcome company, was Governor Branstad.
â€œTo me the Governor showed a lot of confidence and leadership on this issue. Most governors, especially ones that donâ€™t have the experience and the confidence he has would say, â€˜Well, I said I wanted a property tax bill and Iâ€™ll take what I can get.â€™ Instead he said, â€˜You know what, itâ€™s not the one I want. Weâ€™ll come back and either do it in a special session or next year, but Iâ€™m not just going to try and save face and take whatever I can get.â€™ So I was happy about that.â€
Mental Health Reform
Another issue that remained unresolved by the session was reforming the stateâ€™s mental health care system, otherwise known as SF 525. To the casual observer this amounted to a mere failureâ€”true in the sense that no reform got passed but, once again, a look at why this was the case unearths undeniable evidence that a strong Conservative presence is asserting itself at the State House.
More than any other issue, this bill split the Senate Republican caucus, with ten voting in favor, nine voting against, and five not voting at all. The eventual fate ofÂ the billÂ was thatÂ itÂ was assigned to a committee for further study. When asked about this divide in the Party and the debate in general, Sen. Whitver laid out the issue like this:
â€œPart of it is a rural-urban divide. There is a lot of agreement that redesigning the mental health care system needs to be done. The difference is, do we want the state to take control of it, or can we let the counties keep control. Being from Polk County, we offer a lot of services that maybe Adams County does not, because they have 4,000 people. If they want to design a system where every county has to offer the same services they are not going to take every county down to Adams County levels, they are going to bring all other counties up to Polk County levels. And at the end of the day it just looks like something thatâ€™s going to greatly expand the cost and scope of government, and I think a lot of us werenâ€™t comfortable with that.â€
The insight that this answer provides into the thought process of at least a sizeable chunk of Senate Republicans should bolster the resolve of Conservatives state-wide. It is hard to imagine a more positive indicator that Iowa Republicans are serious about actually achieving a smaller governmentâ€”and not just talking about it.
Realize, especially on an emotionally sensitive topic like this one, what the specific logic they approached this issue with provesâ€”they get it. They are viewing all things through a prism of justified skepticism, asking themselves, â€œDoes this bill have the potential to explode into an over costly, ever expanding leviathan?â€ This type of foresight, had it been displayed by the Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson administrations, could have sparred us much of the pain we are currently feeling at the Federal level.
The Reality of the Minority
In short, the reality of the minority is that you are forced to judge success differently. A look at the 293 votes Sen. Whitver cast reveals a splintered wasteland of votes cast in vain. As the roll calls of losing 26-24, 24-23, 26-21 began to pile up during the session, one has to wonder if the Senator would rather have been back running 5 yard drag routes into 240-pound Big 12 linebackersâ€¦minus his pads.
Making matters worse for this particular minority was being under the thumb of Senate Majority leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs), who is renowned for both his liberalism and his penchant for using parliamentary maneuvers to avoid votes on hot-button issues. It didnâ€™t take long for Sen. Whitver to experience this approach, â€œThe first thing I saw when I got there was him changing the rules to not allow a majority of the Senators to bring up a bill.â€ When asked his thoughts on these tactics he joined the near unanimous chorus of Republican anger towards Gronstal, saying, â€œThe ones that I really had a problem with were the ones that had the votes to pass. On same sex marriage, I think we had the votes to bring it up with a majority, and then to get it passed.â€
Despite these circumstances, Sen. Whitver deploys a perspective that allows him to take it all in stride:
â€œYeah itâ€™s frustrating in the short term, but I have taken a longer view about being in the Senate. Itâ€™s a four year term and if I was just looking at the next election I could say, â€˜Ok, Iâ€™ll vote for that property tax bill,â€™ but Iâ€™m going to look at the big picture. A lot of those 26-24 votes draw a line in the sand and say, â€˜This is what Democrats want and this is what Republicans want, and this is our agenda going forward.â€™ So yeah, it is frustrating to go in there every day and vote no and see something pass, but in the long term I think we are setting up our agenda and what we are trying to accomplish pretty nicely.â€
In a political minority, this is what success looks like.
In a state that President Obama carried by 9.5 points, and without a majority in both chambers, fully implementing a Conservative agenda was simply not realistic. In this scenario much of your work is done around the edges and in ensuring bad bills donâ€™t pass. Sen. Whitver summed up the inroads the Party made, and how he sees the political landscape going forward, the following way:
â€œI think we accomplished three major things, though bills didnâ€™t necessarily get passed out of it. The Democrats admitted that we needed commercial property tax relief and were passing bills talking about it. They admitted we needed the late term abortion bill, they didnâ€™t pass the bill we wanted, but they were on record saying that we need to do something about it, and they agreed we need to limit spending. So three of our major priorities, they agreed with. We didnâ€™t get the exact bills we wanted, but I think that shows that our message is the right message.â€
Not only is it the right message, more importantly, a look inside the reasoning behind the votes shows it is a genuine message backed by principal and strong will.
The real story for Conservative Iowans is found in uncovering the reason why more bills failed to pass on major issues. In the case of tax reform, â€œnot good enoughâ€ was the why. In the case of SF 525, apprehension to expansive government and cautious foresight were the why.
I think that all concerned Republicans would agree that if the fight is waged on the principals of lower taxes and smaller government, we will gladly take a drawâ€¦for now.
Part 2 of this interview will publish Monday August 8th.Â Among the issues it will cover are: the battles looming once the next session is gavaled in, the state of public education in Iowa, the politics of Medicaid, and Iowaâ€™s illegal immigration problem.
Click Here To Read Part 2
With the long overdue federal budget negotiations continuing to, well — continue — the vitriol spewing out of every crevasse of Washington is stunning in both its scope and in the absolute levels of personal animus that is on display. Even more stunning than the differences of opinion are the even more spectacular distortions of both the facts and the pertinent arguments attached to elements of the debate. It is one thing to have a contrary set of opinions. It is yet another to deploy a confrontation strategy of â€œjustifiable-deceptionâ€ (what used to be called â€œliesâ€) into that debate. The proposed defunding of Planned Parenthood that was announced last week (for their use in providing abortions) brought out vast quantities of this type of pernicious and despicable political deception.
The emotionally driven hate-speech coming from the self-described and sole protectors of women (the liberal legion in Washington), came so fast and furious that one might have been concerned that someone might have gotten hurt in their stampede to the cameras and microphones. It was a scene reminiscent of the chaos of a rock concert or a soccer game where all of the adolescent fans have designs on the front row.
Of the entire list of distortions associated with the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the one most hideous is the characterization that conservatives are both anti-women, and anti-womenâ€™s rights. Â These liberal â€œmegaphonesâ€ should be ashamed of themselves for stooping to this level of civility and discourse. Actually, it is not discourse (and it is obviously not civil); it is just the spewage of unfiltered sewage. Here are some examples:
- Reid (D-NV) said Republicans had placed a “bull’s eye on women in America,” preventing them from getting “health services they need.”
- Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) said: “The real reason that the right-wing extremists in Congress orchestrated this outrageous government shutdown is to try and defund Planned Parenthood as part of their ideological assault on women’s health care.â€
- Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) explained that “This is a war on women. They’re trying to inject their politics and their religion into local family planning.” California liberals are a special lot, are they not? The level of hypocrisy captured in these two brief sentences is revolting to all people of intelligent thought. But we move on.
As the â€œviability of the fetusâ€ argument has now been effectively discredited, both morally and technologically, the abortionistâ€™s last redoubt is the rights-of-women argument. The absurdity of this version of the pro-abortion argument is that the issue has never been simply and singularly about the rights of women. Everyone, on all sides of this issue, is committed to the rights of women. The fact that the extremist (to use their word) liberals seem to deny that the issue is much broader than womenâ€™s rights is the reason their comments are so entirely and patently offensive. This is a much more expansive human rights issue.
The battle lines around the abortion issue are not found on the political map in an area marked â€œthe rights of women.â€ The debate is rather a long-standing and well-defined issue that pits the interests and rights of women against the interests and rights of unborn children. We all wish this did not have to be so. But to say that one party in the debate favors the rights of women, and the other does not, is at least disingenuous and likely much worse. It is reflective of a lack of character that manifests itself in a willingness to sacrifice base levels of honesty and core human decency in pursuit of their already dubious goals.
The difference between those of us who support the lives of the unborn and the Reidâ€™s, DeGetteâ€™s and Leeâ€™s of the world has nothing whatsoever with differences of opinion opposite the rights of women. It has everything to do with the rights of children. For liberals to state the contrary, or to state only one element of the argument, is morally and intellectually reprehensible. For those who choose to support abortion as a simple function of the rights of women there exists a deep moral responsibility to pursue the issue on its meritsâ€¦whatever those merits might be. Spewing unrepentant lies as a means of support for their argument is, very unfortunately, on the same moral plane as the abortionistâ€™s morally asymmetrical argument itself.
We need look no further than this to see why Americans are so completely disgusted with the whole political process. Without honesty there can be no trust. Without trust, there is no opportunity for the democratic form of governance to continue.
Process check: If you read this and see it as polemic in favor of the rights of children, please read it again. It is an argument in support of honest political discourse. This article could have been written with the federal budget, health care, educational funding, judicial activism or food safety labeling as the backdrop.