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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Focus on the Nazis...

Category: Society
Posted: 08/06/05 11:45

by Dave Mindeman

There is one evangelical fundamentalist who is on the verge of replacing Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as king of the Lunatic Fringe. That fellow is Dr. James Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family....A right wing group with growing influence among fundamentalist Christians. Dr. Dobson has become the spokesperson for those opposing stem cell research and on a Colorado radio talk show, he said this:

"The thing that means so much to me here on this issue (embryonic stem-cell research) is that people talk about the potential for good that can come from destroying these little embryos and how we might be able to solve the problem of juvenile diabetes," Dobson said. "There's no indication yet that they're gonna do that, but people say that, or spinal-cord injuries or such things.

"But I have to ask this question: In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind. ...

"We condemn what the Nazis did because there are some things that we always could do but we haven't done because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality. And you remove ethics and morality, and you get what happened in Nazi Germany."

Well, needless to say this caused a firestorm of outrage in the research community; even some Holocaust survivors who escaped from Mengele's death camp voiced their displeasure at the comparison. You would assume that a clarification or apology or even a statement about misrepresentation would be in order... but no, a direct statement from Focus on the Family followed with this:

"The analogy comparing the Nazi human experiments conducted during WWII and today's embryonic stem-cell research is historically and ethically accurate, appropriate, and we stand by it," Focus on the Family bioethics analyst Carrie Gordon Earll said Thursday.

Doesn't sound like much of an apology does it? I think back to the firestorm MoveOn had to deal with when that Hitler commercial appeared on their sight. The commercial was entered into a contest MoveOn was organizing and they had nothing to do with its production, placement, or message... yet they were castigated by the press and the Republican spin machine.

Where's the outrage here? Dr. Dobson may think he is appealing to some moral compass with this issue -- I think he is only empowering that Lunatic Fringe.
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On Wars.. Domestic and Foreign

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 08/05/05 14:28

by PDW58

I like Pawlenty's solution to the shutdown fiasco. Let's cut the legislators pay if they don't get it done. Come on! Doesn't anyone think that maybe building some trust and communication lines might be slightly more productive?

Hey, I wonder if Normy saw the little Trib piece from Mary Ann Kuharski (ProLife Across America). Good old Norm thinks he can play both sides of that fence too. His little stem cell outreach is guaranteed to backfire; the rigid Pro-Life lobby compromises with no one. Pretty soon Normy will have everybody ticked off.

I see Carville finally got to Bob Novak. After another heated exchange between the two, Novak cursed on the air and left... and CNN told him to keep going. They suspended him. The heat from the Plame fiasco is taking its toll.

Gitmo has become a serious liability for the neo-cons. There is talk of transferring 70% of the detainees to other countries in an attempt to lessen its importance. Its a little hard to talk about "fighting for freedom" when due process is thrown out the window. Good luck on that one, Rummy.

It is always interesting to watch Bush struggle with his definitions on the "War". He is always trying to make that Iraq connection in any way he can... and then he pushes the European developments in there. It shouldn't be that hard to figure out that Iraq was never a part of the "War" on terror until he invaded. It was simply a convenient reason to depose Saddam and establish a conventional military beachhead in an oil rich arena. A means (although very costly) of protecting "American interests" under the guise of some global terror threat. The "War" talk is critical to justify all this, even though the real terror war is a series of high stakes criminal events. The only real way to fight it has always been covert activity, yet Bush's Iraq adventure opened an entirely new front -- which has become, essentially, a training ground for the extremists -- that will occupy our conventional forces and our money indefinitely. The arguments are getting more feeble...


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Wal-Mart Helps the Rural Poor? Huh?

Category: Society
Posted: 08/04/05 15:14

by Dave Mindeman

One of the commentaries in today's Star Tribune had a headline that caught my eye -- Wal-Marts's True Value: It Helps the Rural Poor Reading that article was interesting to say the least. The business "experts" that wrote the article (which appeared in the NY Times), made their arguments strictly in the business purity of dollars and cents, profit and loss. Like a lot of business concepts, people are just another commodity.

According to them, two-thirds of Wal-Marts are in rural areas saving consumers about $16 billion a year. A figure, they say, justifies what they admit are certain impositions on society like destroying jobs in competing stores, driving employees toward public welfare systems and creating urban sprawl. Items they say that even if Wal-Mart was guilty of all, still would be made up for by the $16 billion savings.

Dollars... dollars...dollars. There must be some way to make the business sector understand, dollars aren't the only factor. When Wal-Mart enters a community, it is forever changed. Jobs are not the only thing lost.... it is community co-hesiveness. That local hardware store doesn't just lose jobs, it closes down. That quiet downtown street becomes a traffic maze. Local business profits are lost to the competition of Wal-Mart and local charities will be the first to suffer, as the extra dollars are now gone.

They also talk about the increase in productivity that Wal-Mart contributes heavily to. Nobody disputes that Wal-Mart has the ideal business model. It is lean and it is mean. But what good is increased productivity brought about by an increase in low paying service sector jobs that have no health care and poverty level wage scales.

We used to worry about inflation; prices constantly going up. Business has found a way to fight inflation but it is at the expense of labor. Unions are fought at ever turn and membership continues to decline. Overseas workers are exploited back to the sweatshop days of the industrial revolution in our country. Free trade has become Cut-Throat trade. Global competition has been forcing labor to take concession after concession, while at the same time, public assistance has been slashed. Productivity and profits are the winners -- but everyone, and I mean every individual takes the hit.
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