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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Kersten's ACORN: Growing Many Illegal Branches

Category: Kersten
Posted: 09/27/09 13:06

by Dave Mindeman

It was inevitable that Katherine Kersten would weigh in on the ACORN situation. And it was also inevitable that she would take a legitimate concern and turn it into potential nuclear holocaust.

OK...so be it. But let's have a real discussion about this.

First of all, the controversy that centers on ACORN currently has nothing to do with voter registration. ACORN deals in several areas of poverty issues...but in this particular case, voter registration was not involved. Of course, that doesn't stop Katherine Kersten to paint with her usual broad brush. It is what she does.

Not that ACORN doesn't have some voter registration issues. Personally, I cringe at the idea of giving people "bonuses" for bringing in new registrations. That is inviting trouble.

But even at that, bad registration forms were never as widespread as the GOP would have you believe. And there is little evidence that any of these bad registrations actually lead to any "fraudulent" votes.

Even less evidence of that in Minnesota. But, again, that doesn't stop Kersten. I particularly like this deft insinuation:

Here in Minnesota, ACORN has boasted of playing a major role in the 2008 elections. It claims to have registered 43,000 new voters, which it describes as 75 percent of the state's new registrations. Franken's margin of victory in the Senate race was razor-thin: 312 votes out of about 3 million cast. And Minnesota's laws on proof of voter eligibility are notoriously loose. Did ACORN folks pull some fast ones to help get their favorite son Franken elected -- a win that handed Democrats the 60-vote, veto-proof majority that they needed to enact their liberal agenda?

Notice that Kersten doesn't make any direct allegations. She correctly details that ACORN had a role in the increase in Minnesota's voter registrations. And she correctly encapsulizes the Franken Senate win. It is up to you, dear reader, to answer her final question. And the answer should be "obvious" from Kersten's point of view.

Yet, there are some very important points to consider that elude Kersten's political radar.

First, the Franken/Coleman court case scrutinized the Minnesota election system in a detail that would have caused a lesser system to collaps. Yet, outside of some outside talk and veiled allegations, there was never any official complaint about any voter registration issues. There was a great deal of discussion about how absentee ballots were handled and counted, but there was no court investigation about fraudulent registrations.

Second, although Kersten spends a good deal of righteous indignation time on voter fraud, she fails to give one iota of mention to voter suppression. Frankly, that is a bigger problem in our election system than illegal votes. Kersten could have talked about Mary Kiffmeyer's attempt to suppress the Indian tribe vote. Or the challenges made at student polling stations. Or, the broader issue of African American vote suppression all over the country.

Unfortunately, none of those issues bother Ms. Kersten. She is intent on proving that ACORN is indeed, a bunch of nuts.
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On Kersten, Anscombe, and Choices

Category: Kersten
Posted: 08/29/09 23:18

by Dave Mindeman

I get a little concerned about Katherine Kersten sometimes. She seems to be a little phobic about a number of things. I wonder if she has considered analysis?

Her column, this week, features Cassy Hough and the Anscombe Society at Princeton. This group is devoted to long term chaste, marriage oriented relationships.

As Kersten sees it, the Anscombe Society's promotion of marriage and chastity has an uphill battle against the drunken debauchery of college life. And, here I thought they were the halls of academia.

I got curious about the Anscombe Society though. Why that name? Well, their website answers that question:

Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret (G.E.M., or Elizabeth) Anscombe (1919-2001), a student and literary executor of Wittgenstein, was a British analytic philosopher -- according to some, the 20th century's greatest. Her 1957 book Intention, on the role of reasoning in human action, has become a modern classic; her penetrating analysis of traditional sexual ethics in a 1977 essay "Contraception and Chastity" displays the rigor of her moral reasoning and the vigor of her defense of family values. A highly regarded Cambridge professor, wife, and mother of seven, she was chosen as our namesake for her unabashed dedication to the life of the mind and to marriage and family in her life and work.

Although Anscombe did have strong feelings on the subject -- she was a devout Catholic and anti-choice person -- that was only one of her public causes.

I wonder if Katie Kersten would be happy with Anscombe's other personna -- she was a stubborn peace activist. She worked against the US entry into World War II and considered Harry Truman a war criminal for his use of the atomic bomb on Japan.

Anscombe also shredded C.S. Lewis' arguments against naturalism and even though she was a devout Catholic, she could not accept Lewis's arguments that Naturalism was self-defeating (which in theory would prove the existence of the supernatural). A paper by Anscombe that thoroughly dissected Lewis point by point, caused the Christian philosopher Lewis to stop writing on pure religious theological argument, moving to his famous children and devotional books instead.

The Anscombe Society focuses only on Anscombe's 1977 essay "Contraception and Chastity". Which essentially sums up Anscombe's Catholic faith.

Now, the reason I go into this is that Kersten and Hough seem to want the world to be very simple. To Kersten, college life is about sexual mores -- not about learning, not about social contacts, and not about young people learning about who they are. To Hough, Anscombe is a hero to her because they share the idea of life at conception and marriage only sex....not about peaceniks or more complex theology.

College is a testing ground for young people. Some will meet Kersten and Hough's high moral standards....but many more will fall far short. Probably not total depravity but certainly short of the born again standard.

Kersten and Hough expect people to conform to a standard they choose. But people have their own choices to make. And only when young people get out on their own can they truly examine what their own philosophy will move toward.

Kersten may have low expectations about how those choices will turn out, but, in the end, it is not her choice to make.

Anscombe was a more complex person than Hough and Kersten give her credit for -- I think it is only fair that college students be allowed to move beyond simplified platitudes as well.

And really, Kersten still should consider that analysis thing -- this obsession with sex isn't healthy.

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Kersten's Back! And So Are Her Distorted Arguments

Category: Kersten
Posted: 05/30/09 23:29

by Dave Mindeman

Good news everyone....Katherine Kersten is back!

I say that somewhat facetiously but there is one good thing about having her back..... her arguments are so patently self serving that the other side of the argument can get a clear hearing.

This column is about her favorite topic... the "destruction" of marriage by gay relationships. Her "unfair" tactic to "expose" this time is the "single interest" pro-LGBT money interests that are poured into state races to defeat state legislators.

Gee..."special interest money"...that never happens!

I guess that Kersten ignores the MCCL tactics that have been used for years to fund their own single issue legislators. I guess Kersten was AWOL from noticing the Utah Mormon Church flooding California with money to push Proposition 8. She missed the pro-business Freedom Club and the Jobs Political Fund pouring independent expenditures into Minnesota House races like 37A to defeat Shelley Madore or 28A to defeat Sandy Wollschlager during the last election cycle.

Kersten seems to be saying that special interest money is OK as long as it funds HER special interests....but grossly unfair if they work against her causes.

I enjoyed this Kersten observation as well:

Gill also used a fake prolife organization -- called "Coloradans for Life" -- to attempt to falsely tie Musgrave to funding for overseas abortions and suppress the turnout of prolife voters, according to Guy Short, her former campaign manager.

Stealth PAC's is a GOP invention. Cute little names that are intended to sway the voter into thinking that they are working FOR the cause that they are actually working AGAINST.

The JOBS Political Fund has nothing to do with jobs or workers. It is funded by business to work against Union supporters. There is a PAC called the Committee for Truth in Politics...their message? Obama is soft on sex offenders. The "Global Climate Coalition" is a set up for oil and gas companies. The National Wetlands Coalition opposes wetlands protections.

And on it goes....

Money in politics seems to offend Kersten's "fairness" sensibilities. But her offense is only taken if liberal causes are funded. I guess all that conservative money, of course, is just freedom of speech.

Oh, puh-leeeze, Katy... GROW UP!
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