The moral crisis of the Republican party
By David Schultz, Schultz’s Take
January 29, 2013
The Republican Party is facing a crisis that’s not purely political. The real problem with the party is an ethical and moral one, far more serious than the political missteps that have plagued it in recent years.
The political problems with the Republican Party are well known. It lost yet another presidential election and its candidates have secured a majority of the popular vote only once in the last five contests. The Democrats control the US Senate and while the Republicans retain shrunken hold in the House of Representatives, they failed to capture a majority of the popular vote in that chamber. Were it not for gerrymandering and geography, they would have lost that chamber too. In Minnesota, Republicans were sharply repudiated last November, ousted by constitutional overreach and infighting.
Republicans know they have a problem. This past weekend in New Orleans they held a conference seeking to understand their problems. For some it is that they nominated bad presidential candidates such as John McCain or Mitt Romney. For others it is not the candidates or the values but the messaging. Some see it as bad campaign tactics, seeking salvation in borrowing from Obama’s campaign. Similarly, Minnesota and other Republicans this week will meet to discuss the future of their party, no doubt concluding that the problem are the candidates, the messaging, or the tactics. They are only part of the problem.
Short term the political crisis of the Republican Party is not an issue. The 2014 elections will come soon and in general the President’s party does badly in the midterm elections of a second term. Democrats will need to defend 20 Senate seats compared to 13 for Republicans, and across the country, decreased voter turnout will favor the Republicans. One should not discount the capacity of Democrats across the country to make political mistakes, either by being overconfident, overreaching, or failing to seize the day. Obama’s first term was a lesson in looking aside when given the chance to make historical change. Democrats will make political missteps in 2014 and by 2016 perhaps the American public may be sick of them for failing to deliver, giving the Republicans a political opportunity.
But were the crisis of the Republican Party merely tactical and just about playing politics that would be simple. But the problem is more deep seated–it is the moral or ethical crisis of the party that is the problem.
The problem is with the political morality of the Republican Party. It is a party dominated by an aging white population hostile to diversity, gay rights, women’s rights, and the use of government resources to promote the public good. It is a political party increasingly out of step where the future of America is headed. That future is one less Christian and religious, and more diverse. Public opinion has shifted and it supports gay marriage and rights. It supports a woman’s right to choose, and more importantly, birth control. It does not believe women have natural defenses against real rape, it is less supportive of the death penalty, and it does support some reasonable limits on guns.
It is an America that sees a role for the government in promoting the public good. It is a public that wants good schools and affordable colleges. It is a public that worries about the environment and accepts science. It does not think vaccinations cause retardation. It is public worried about the corrosive effect of money in politics and the problems that rising inequality is causing for a next generation whose life prospects may not be as good as the one we enjoy.
Multiple surveys document these views of the contemporary American public opinion. This is only part of the ethical crisis of the Republican Party. It is not only out of step with where current public opinion is, but the demographics are against them. The values of a new generation of Americans coming up are increasingly at odds where the current Republican Party is.
The main constituency for the current GOP is old or fringe. It is a constituency increasingly seen as greedy, intolerant, and lacking compassion. It is a party in 2011-2 that applauded executions and cheered that some might die if they needed health care but could not afford it. They are a party that seems indifferent to the suffering of others and seems to have taken the position that I have mine and the rest should do it alone like I did. Except that they did not do it alone. They benefited from the New Deal state, sucked it dry, and now want to pass the bills on to the next generation. They are the real takers. They have benefited from their parents sacrifice and investments and in turn are failing to invest in future generations. At one time the Republican Party railed against the 60s generation as selfish and greedy. They are no longer the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, or Ike. Rockefeller would have no place in their party and it is not even clear that Reagan would fit in. The GOP is now the party of Howard Roark.
The moral crisis of the Republican Party is one where increasingly their fantasy of an Ozzie and Harriet America is not the one that most Americans currently or are in the future going to live in. If fact, it is really not even the world they live in. The America they grew up in was not one of Social Darwinism and untrammeled free market capitalism. It was–to steal a phrase–a kinder and more gentle nation where the government played a positive role in making life better for all of us. Yes, it made mistakes, racism and poverty did excluded many, but it also did great things by helping Americans draw upon their talents and create the conditions that made it possible for many of us to succeed.
The current Republican Party is espousing a constellation of values that deny reality and the dreams of what Americans want. The soul searching that the Republican Party is presently doing will fail. It will fail but at core its values are that of either angry greedy old men or adolescent-thinking ideologues who think they owe no one nothing because no one gave them a hand and that they did it all on their own. It is a party without compassion, a party without a sense of what American’s believe, and what the country looks like now and into the future. This is the real crisis of the Republican Party.
David Schultz is a professor in the School of Business at Hamline University. He teaches doctoral and masters-level students in public administration, non-profit administration, and business administration.
How stupid do you have to be to cut in line in front of a bunch of people who are almost certainly armed and so completely sold on the idea of an imminent ban that they will stand out in the cold for a chance at a handful of newly arrived bullets ? Gander applies a purchase limit, of course, lest the first person in line buy the whole stock, thereby precipitating a riot.
Lubbock police officers arrested a man after he pulled a gun on someone in front of local store Friday morning.
Ernesto Vasquez, 52, along with several other people, waited outside Gander Mountains for the store to open. A dispute over place in line caused the situation to escalate to a weapon being shown, said Sgt. Jonathan Stewart, a police department spokesman.
Vasquez showed the gun and began to threaten someone in line, police said.
More: Man Arrested for Pulling Gun in Line
These lines form outside every large ammo retailer when word spreads that the store has received a new shipment. The panic-crazed mob then cleans out the newly arrived inventory in a matter of minutes. My brother says he has seen the same thing in Colorado Springs and guns have been drawn there, too.
Long, but good
BILL MOYERS: You remind me of something that President Obama said in his second inaugural address.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are true to our creed when a little girl born in the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American. She is free and she is equal. Not just in the eyes of God, but also in our own.
BILL MOYERS: That’s eloquent, but hardly true.
RICHARD WOLFF: That’s right. And it’s painful for some of us to hear that, because it is so obviously untrue. It is so obviously contradicted by the realities, not just of those who work at the minimum wage, but all of those who work at or even at 50% above what we call the poverty level. Because when you look at what families like that can actually afford, they have to deny huge parts of the American dream to their children and to themselves as a necessary consequence of where they are put.
And I don’t need to be an economist to put it as starkly as I know how. We can read every day that in the major cities of the United States, apartments are changing hands for $10 million, $20 million, $30 million, $40 million. People have enormous yachts that they cruise — we all see it. We all know it. We even celebrate it as a nation. How does that square with millions of people in a position where they can’t provide even the most basic services and opportunities?
We don’t have equality of opportunity. Because there is no shortcut. If you want equality of opportunity, you’re going to have to create equality of income and wealth much closer to a genuine equality than anything— we’re going in the other direction. And so I agree with you. It’s stark if our president talks about something so divergent from the reality.
For 50 years, when capitalism is raised, you have two allowable responses: celebration, cheerleading. Okay, that’s very nice. But that means you have freed that system from all criticism, from all real debate. It can indulge its worst tendencies without fear of exposure and attack. Because when you begin to criticize capitalism, you’re either told that you’re ignorant and don’t understand things, or with more dark implications, you’re somehow disloyal. You’re somehow a person who doesn’t like America or something.
BILL MOYERS: That emerged, as you know, in the Cold War. That emerged when to criticize the American system was to play into the hands of the enemies of America, the Communists. And so it became disreputable and treasonous to do what you’re doing today.
LAPD Officers Sold Guns to Civilians and Gun Dealers, Threatened Whistleblower Who Exposed the Scheme
The LA Times story centered around an LAPD report on the allegations. The report says if the allegations are true, the officer’s actions may have violated federal firearms laws and ethics regulations. The LAPD report that was released in August 2012 was part of an ongoing inquiry into Perez’s allegations, and was the second time the department looked into them. The first investigation was called “deficient” by Inspector General Alex Bustamante.
According to the Courthouse News Service, Perez reported his suspicions to Captain John Incontro. Incontro wanted to fix the matter “in house” and wanted his name to be taken off the list of gun buyers. Perez also reported on what he called an “inappropriate relationship” between a “subordinate and commanding officer,” and after that was aired, Incontro turned the investigation over to the LAPD’S Internal Affairs Group.
But internal affairs determined that there was no misconduct, though they did not interview Perez. After that, the retaliation began, according to the complaint. The retaliation grew in intensity after the Los Angeles Times reported on the story. Perez “was ostracized, his reputation damaged, and [was] told to ‘watch his back,’ among other retaliatory acts. Since reporting the illegal gun deals, Perez says, he has endured veiled threats, ostracism and his job responsibilities have been systematically removed in an attempt to force him to leave Metro,” the Courthouse News Service reports.
Only days after “Friends of Hamas” went the way of ACORN and Shirley Sherrod (no correction, no retraction, and definitely no apology from breitbart.com), Ben Shapiro was invited to appear on Megyn Kelly’s America Live on Fox “News” to discuss Bob Woodward’s comments on the sequester…as if he had some sort of gravitas:
A couple more appearances like this (I bet the next one will be on Sean Hannity’s “Great American Panel”) and the whole “Friends of Hamas” affair will be scrubbed from the memory of the American Right.
Kind of like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind if you think about it.
Know what Americas problem is??? The Thinking Housewife does. We need to move back to a more traditional society, which in this case is unapologetically white, European, and male dominated.
MANY readers of this site have described their sense of isolation in a society that seems bereft of wisdom, decency and common sense. Whether it be a college student disgusted by her courses, a young man looking for a wife, a new mother who wants to remain home, a white man whose career has been derailed by affirmative action, an elderly bachelor in a once-thriving community now brutalized by black crime and vandalism, or a Marine in the feminized military, these readers share the feeling that they do not belong. They reject the lunacy and decadence around them.
All the favorite WingNut fears and talking points all in one easy to handle box. Now what can we do? We can form The American Traditionalist Society.
THE AMERICAN TRADITIONALIST SOCIETY: OUR RAISON D’ÊTRE
Since roughly the 1960s, America has pursued a determined course of self-destruction in the name of liberalism. Our nation is now in a state of undeniable crisis. The federal government, close to insolvency, openly defies the Constitution and asserts its increasingly unaccountable and tyrannical power over the states and over the life of every individual. Our borders have been effectively erased, our language weakened, and our cultural foundations overturned. Our major institutions have been undermined from within. The media and popular culture have marginalized decency and virtue and made filth, transgression, and every kind of nastiness the new norm—a norm unquestioned by anyone in the mainstream culture, including conservatives. Our leaders pontificate that we must be tolerant above all else, and so many draw the natural conclusion that life is absurd. With the official-in-all-but-name denial of the God of the Bible and of any transcendent truth, many young men and women have become demoralized, leading lives that are amoral, selfish, and dissipated.
The response of institutionalized conservatism to this catastrophe has been wholly inadequate, for it has assumed that our nation is fundamentally sound and that we need only oppose the latest liberal initiatives. Failing effectively to challenge the false and evil premises of liberalism or even to acknowledge that these premises now hold effective control over all aspects of American society, the organized conservatism of our day has, at best, only slowed the rate of destruction. It is therefore time for a new, traditionalist, conservatism which recognizes the dominance and falsehood of liberalism and the need to restore the traditional American way of life, yet updated to suit the times. It is time for men and women of good will to stand together before God, repent of their liberalism, and turn their hearts and minds toward the formation of a new social and political order, an order based on God, the wisdom of the ages, and that which is enduringly true in the American and Western tradition. We seek to foster a better order through the spiritual, moral and intellectual renewal of individuals, families, churches, and other fundamental units of society, leading naturally to an organic renewal of American society.
To this end, ever in debt to our forebears and beholden to posterity, the American Traditionalist Society is devoted.
And don’t worry about us having to accept anybody and everybody, we aren’t into that whole “Melting Pot” and “Equality” thing.
I am excited by the prospect of an American Traditionalist Society. My concern is: just how traditionalist is the new society to be? Will it champion the traditional right of peoples to self-determination, free association, and self-awareness? Or will it, as so many “conservative” organizations do, hold forth the Enlightenment view that “we are all the same under the skin” and that race and ethnicity do not matter?
If the latter is the case, I’ll have to pass on supporting the new Society. Any society claiming to promote traditional, organic society while hewing to the multicultural, multiracial Gospel. According to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior (pbuh) is not playing with honest cards. The things that are traditional for European people and people of European ancestry are in many cases not traditional for blacks or Asians. Whose “tradition” is the Society going to honor?
I don’t mean to be contentious, but I do insist on honesty. If the new Society is going to be a force for the re-establishment of white, Christian, pre-Enlightenment culture from which all civilization in the West is derived, I’ll be happy to sign on. But if its purpose is to promote some sort of small-world-after-all monoculture, I will take a reluctant pass.
The society will be explicitly race conscious and defend the white race. If it did not espouse racial conservatism, I also would not be part of it. The society will be unique in placing race in the context of other important issues.
First page ever, so don’t beat me up too badly if I broke form…
4 Bogus Right-Wing Theories About Poverty, and the Real Reason Americans Can’t Make Ends Meet (Hard Times USA)
Why People Are Really Poor
During a period of less than 20 years beginning in the early 1980s, the American economy underwent dramatic changes. It was a period of policy-driven de-unionization and the offshoring of millions of decent manufacturing jobs. The tax code underwent dramatic changes, as CEO pay sky-rocketed and the financial sector came to represent a much larger share of our economic output than it had during the four decades or so following World War II.
And our distribution of income changed dramatically as well. During the 35 years prior to Ronald Reagan’s election, the top one percent of U.S. households had taken in an average of 10 percent of the nation’s income. When Reagan left office in 1988, those at the top were grabbing 15.5 percent of the pie, and by the time George W. Bush took office in 2000, they were taking over 20 percent of the nation’s income.
We can either believe that this shift was a result of changes in public policy (combined with new technologies), or that in just two decades there was some sort of rapid cultural decline among everyone but those at the top of the economic heap.
All of the false narratives are intended to distract from the structural causes of poverty and inequality, and they ignore two simple and indisputable truths. First, contrary to popular belief, we don’t all start out with the same opportunities. The reality is that in the United States today, the best predictor of a newborn baby’s economic future is how much money her parents make.
It also ignores the fact that living in an individualistic, capitalist society carries inherent risk. You can do everything right - study hard, work diligently, keep your nose clean - but if you fall victim to a random workplace accident, you can nevertheless end up being disabled in the blink of an eye and find yourself in need of public assistance. You can end up bankrupt under a pile of healthcare bills or you could lose your job if you’re forced to take care of an ailing parent. Children - innocents who aren’t even old enough to work for themselves - are among the largest groups receiving various forms of public assistance.
The reality, despite the spin from the conservative movement, is that poverty in America is very real, and it’s anything but fun.
It was probably only a matter of time before Mississippi got on board with the newest GOP trend. A fetal heartbeat bill introduced earlier this month contains almost identical language to a similar measure put forth in Arkansas last year.
A person who intends to perform an abortion on a
pregnant woman shall determine if there is the presence of a fetal
heartbeat of the unborn human individual that the pregnant woman
is carrying according to standard medical practice. A person
shall comply with this paragraph (b) regardless of whether or not
the State Board of Health has promulgated rules under paragraph
(c) of this subsection (3).
(c) The State Board of Health may promulgate rules for
the appropriate methods of performing an examination for the
presence of a fetal heartbeat of an unborn human individual based
on standard medical practice.
As was mentioned in the earlier LGF article, “standard medical practice” means that, this early in a pregnancy (1st trimester) the only way to detect a fetal heartbeat is by transvaginal ultrasound.
Here’s the full text of the bill. I encourage you to read the whole thing, they use a number of questionable “facts” as rationale for this measure.
In summary, the bill opens by spouting statistics indicating that the majority of pregnancies in which a fetal heartbeat can be detected have a good chance of making it to term. Therefore, fetal heartbeat, according to the bill, is an excellent measure of the viability of a pregnancy.
There’s little more I can say on this that hasn’t been said already, but suffice to say I still find myself double checking my calendar to make sure it really is 2013.
Thanks to a decades-old law targeting drug runners, entrepreneurs in the nascent medical marijuana industry face a unique burden: an effective federal income tax rate that can soar as high as 75%.
The hefty levy is the result of a 1982 provision to the tax code, known as 280E, that stemmed from a successful attempt by a convicted drug trafficker to claim his yacht, weapons and bribes as businesses expenses, according to 280E Reform, a group working to overturn the statute.
Enacted in the wake of that PR debacle, the rule bars those selling illegal substances from deducting related expenses on their federal income taxes.
It may have been effective against cocaine dealers and smugglers of other hard drugs, but the law now means purveyors of medical marijuana in the 18 states that have legalized the drug can’t can’t take typical things like rent or payroll as a business expense. That’s taking a heavy toll on this new field.
NRL Scientists Produce Densest Artificial Ionospheric Plasma Clouds Using HAARP - U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory research physicists and engineers from the Plasma Physics Division, working at the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) transmitter facility, Gakona, Alaska, successfully produced a sustained high density plasma cloud in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
“Previous artificial plasma density clouds have lifetimes of only ten minutes or less,” said Paul Bernhardt, Ph.D., NRL Space Use and Plasma Section. “This higher density plasma ‘ball’ was sustained over one hour by the HAARP transmissions and was extinguished only after termination of the HAARP radio beam.”
These glow discharges in the upper atmosphere were generated as a part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored Basic Research on Ionospheric Characteristics and Effects (BRIOCHE) campaign to explore ionospheric phenomena and its impact on communications and space weather.