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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

"Not One Penny More" Adds Billions to Future MN Obligations

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 07/25/11 17:20, Edited: 07/25/11 18:41

by Dave Mindeman

The more you learn about the debt that the GOP has foisted upon the State of Minnesota, the less you like it.

It looks like those $640 million in tobacco bonds are actually going to cost the state $1.2 billion if you include the $640 million in interest that will result. That's right...the MN GOP is going to double your exposure in order to keep that bogus $34 billion budget figure.

So, let's take stock.

The Republican budget proposal pushed aside over $2 billion in education funding to be paid later....if at all. That original $1.4 to $1.6 billion "unallotment" number was still supposed to be part of the current budget (everybody kind of forgets that), yet it was pushed ahead yet again to reduce the daunting deficit. Dayton agreed to this from the outset, so there was never much opportunity for this to be resolved.

But Republicans added another $700 million to this ed shift figure and moved to a virtual guarantee of a $2 billion deficit to start the next cycle.

Then, they decide that their other idea will be tobacco bonding. This coupled with the interest puts the state into another $640 million deficit coupled with $640 million in interest, for a total of a $1.2 billion bill for the our education deficited kids.

Billions and billions of dollars of future exposure for our state...all because the Republicans didn't want "one penny more" added to a budget figure that has been blown wide open in reality.

comments (3) permalink

Norway

Category: Society
Posted: 07/24/11 11:55

by Dave Mindeman

A purist religious zealotry. Hatred that leads to violence. A willingness to harm innocents to publicize your views. An inner conviction that your beliefs are pure and all others are suspect. A willingness to classify other cultures as the enemy and an abomination.

Most Americans would classify the above description as a moniker for an "Islamo-fascist", to use a G.W. Bush phrase.

But religious fanatacism doesn't belong to the Islamic faith alone. And it would seem Norway has been given a very graphic illustration of this truth.

Bigotry exists in this world. We have found ways to mask it...to push it to the background...to reclassify it...to redesign it. No matter how much we say it is declining, its ugly head manages to reappear in broader and more dangerous ways.

Christians tend to brush off the zealots of their own religion. We hear religious leaders marginalize the actions of a few in Christianity. Yet those same leaders will condemn the entire Muslim religion for the actions of an Islamic minority of similar numbers.

Yet, Christian religious zealots bomb abortion clinics. A Christian zealot was responsible for the Atlanta Olympic bombing. Religious Christian purism is involved in the survivalist movement. And Christian purists were involved in the roots of the Ku Klux Klan.

Even Hitler utilized Christian suspicion and bigotry toward Jews to justify the unconscienable mass murder of World War II.

Christian leaders will dismiss the Norwegian violence as an anomoly... an aberration. But "aberrations" like this are in every fundamentalist wing of any religion. And they get their fuel from the discriminatory and isolationist language of their own religious leadership.

Today's religions focus too much on the absolutes, the "musts", and the "only ways" of dogma.... and less on the all encompassing vision of shared love and community which is deeply entrenched in all of them.

The question might be asked..."Do religions act as a catalyst for violent extremism?"

A truthful answer to that might be troubling.
comments (0) permalink

GOP Is Better Suited As An Opposition Party

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 07/23/11 14:58

by Dave Mindeman

I have long suspected that the modern Republican Party is incapable of governing anything...school board, legislature, Congress....anything. They have become so tied to faux ideologic principles that they cannot extricate themselves from them long enough to do what is best for their constituents.

In Minnesota, this was made clear with the budget shutdown. Even faced with a looming deadline, the MN GOP leadership was pushing social policy positions that had nothing to do with monetary policy. Right up to the end they pushed for abortion and voting laws that had already been debated and certainly could wait for a more proper time. Yet, they shut down state government rather than do what is best for the state as a whole.

In Congress, the same ideology is blocking negotiations on the debt ceiling. Republicans would rather push the US into default than give in on their ridiculous pledges. It is really an astonishing level of incompetence in governance.

Over the years, when Democrats dominated legislative policy, the Republicans developed a very effective opposition strategy. They developed simple messages that could resonate with dissatisfied voters and they could influence the majority's policy development. The Republicans excelled as an opposition party.

But, in recent years, as they made political gains, and as they were expected to follow through on their message, they lost sight of the ability to make government actually work. Ideology is certainly not a framework for governing as we are becoming painfully aware.

Maybe it is time that the Republican Party go back to what they do best -- a party of the loyal opposition. Maybe it is time to give Democrats control of the legislative process once again, at all levels. Obviously, the GOP is more comfortable in that responsibility, because they have looked totally out of place as the party in power.
comments (0) permalink

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