Posts tagged ‘Religion Culture’


Wisconsin College Names: Good & Bad

While researching Wisconsin universities, I looked at their names and asked: Do they matter in terms of attracting students or gaining national recognition?

Wisconsin has 40 public universities and technical schools, including, 13 four-year and 13 two-year University of Wisconsin campuses, as well as 14 two-year state-funded technical schools. Of the state’s 20 non-public institutions, Lawrence, Beloit, Ripon, and the Milwaukee School of Engineering, are well-known secular schools, while the other 16 have religious affiliations. [1]

Best Wisconsin College Names

MARQUETTE, in Milwaukee, has a good name, as it conjures up images of Father Jacques Marquette, the French missionary who canoed down the Fox and Wis. Rivers in 1673.

LAWRENCE, a private university, has a nice ring to it. It’s named after philanthropist Amos Lawrence, an Episcopalian, who along with two Methodist ministers, established the college in Appleton in 1847, in what was then the Wisconsin territory.

BELOIT is a strong name. It is easy to locate, as it is in the city bearing the same name. When founded in 1946, it was linked to the Congregationalists. Those ties were cut to become secular.

RIPON, founded in 1851, was originally affiliated with the Presbyterian and Congregational churches. They became a secular private college in 1868.

The MILWAUKEE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, founded in 1903, has a good name, as it clearly indicates where the college is located, and what studies they emphasize.

EDGEWOOD, a small Catholic college in Madison, has a pleasant sound. SILVER LAKE, just west of Manitowoc, on a water body bearing the same name, also has a title worth keeping.

CARROLL, founded in 1846, is a Presbyterian university, named after Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

CARTHAGE, a Lutheran college that opened in Hillsboro, Illinois, adopted their current name in 1870, when they moved to Carthage, Illinois. They relocated to Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1962.

CONCORDIA, in Mequon, Wisconsin, has an acceptable small college title, as it is named after a branch of the Lutheran Church.

NORTHLAND COLLEGE, up in the north woods at Ashland, with only 700 students, might be better off as Ashland College, so people could find it, but Northland sounds rugged and refreshing.

LAKELAND COLLEGE, in rural Plymouth, WI, just west of Sheboygan, should take a more specific label, like Sheboygan College, to make it easier to locate, but anything with lake is fine.

UW COLLEGES AND TECH SCHOOLS WITH CITY NAMES: Eleven 4-year, [2] and eight 2-year [3] campuses of the University of Wisconsin system, did it right, when they inserted their city names in their titles. Three state-funded tech schools also made the smart move by incorporating city names on their banners. [4]

Colleges that need Name Changes

MARANATHA, a very small Baptist bible college in Watertown, wins the award for the absolute worst Wisconsin college name. Doesn’t it look like it’s misspelled? Change it now, please.

MT. MARY, a small Catholic college in Milwaukee, should change their name. It’s like Martinez in Mexico, or Chin in China. Too many schools have the word “Mary” in their titles. Mary is not unique, and will never stand out. Catholics in the U.S. have: six St. Mary’s Colleges, three called Mount St. Mary’s, one labeled the U. of Mary, and another known as St. Mary Magdalen. The parade continues with: Marymount, Marywood, Maryhurst, Marygrove and Maryhurst. Let’s not forget Mary Manse. If you don’t like English, there’s always Maria, Ava Maria and Villa Maria. Mt. Mary should come up with an entirely new name, for themselves, Cardinal Stritch, and Alverno, all in Milwaukee.

CARDINAL STRITCH, a Catholic college in Milwaukee, has a very unattractive title, as it conjures up images of an old crusty man, dressed like a bishop, certain not draw persons of other faiths to the school. Mt. Mary, Alverno and Cardinal Stritch, all in Milwaukee need to consolidate, under an entirely new name.

ALVERNO, a small Catholic college in Milwaukee, started out as St. Joseph’s in 1887, and made the error of changing to Alverno Teacher’s College in 1936. While “Alverno” is a mountain in Italy, Milwaukee’s South Side, where the college is located, is predominantly Polish-American, and it has no hills, let alone mountains. A better name would be South Milwaukee College.

VITERBO, a small Catholic university in La Crosse, started out in St. Rose’s in 1890, and was renamed Viterbo in 1937, in honor of an Italian province near Rome. Viterbo is simply not a good fit for Western Wisconsin, where there are no Italian-Americans. Nobody out there has a name ending in O, except Domino’s Pizza. Change the name to La Crosse-Viterbo College, and after five years, drop Viterbo altogether, to make it La Crosse College.

MARIAN, another small Catholic college in Fond du Lac, should change their name, as it is derived from the word “Mary,” which as we know, should never be used. See Mt. Mary, above. Fond du Lac University would be more unique.

ST. NORBERT was founded in 1898 by a Norbertine priest in West de Pere, outside Green Bay. It’s named after Norbert of Xanten, born in Germany in 1080. It would have made more sense to name it after Jean Nicolet, the first French settler in 1634, but since the college has used the name for 114 years, maybe all we can do now is drop the word “Saint,” as it must surely depress non-Catholic enrollment. Let’s just call it Norbert College.

UW-PARKSIDE is in Kenosha, but I had to look it up to be sure. It was named Parkside to please the City of Racine, to the north, and Kenosha, to the south. Since it’s technically in the City of Kenosha, get over it Racine, and just rename it UW-Kenosha.

UW-STOUT, originally a private college in Menomonie, is named after James Stout, the man who founded it in 1891. It became a state college when Stout died in 1911. Who would object if the school was now renamed UW-Menomonie?

Two-year campuses in the Fox and Chippewa River valleys also need relabeling, as their titles make their locations too vague. UW-FOX VALLEY should become UW-Menasha, FOX VALLEY TECH should be Appleton Tech, and CHIPPEWA VALLEY TECH should be relabeled Eau Claire Tech.

The 2-year campuses in the UW system named after counties, should also adopt city names. UW-BARRON COUNTY should become UW-Rice Lake, UW-MARATHON COUNTY should be UW-Wausau, UW-ROCK COUNTY should be UW-Janesville, and UW-WASHINGTON COUNTY should be UW-West Bend.

The name LAKESHORE TECH is too vague, as it doesn’t specify a body of water. When I looked it up, I found it exactly halfway between Manitowoc and Sheboygan, in Cleveland, Wisconsin, a tiny place, selected to appease both cities. While it would be too confusing to rename it Cleveland Tech, it could become Manitowoc Tech, in recognition of the County where it is located.

Six technical schools should abandon their regional Wisconsin labels, and adopt city names: WESTERN TECH should become La Crosse Tech, MID-STATE TECH should be Wis. Rapids Tech, SOUTHWEST TECH should be Fennimore Tech, NORTH-CENTRAL TECH should be Wausau Tech, GATEWAY TECH should be Kenosha Tech, and MORAINE PARK TECH should be renamed Fond du Lac Tech. Two technical schools, BLACKHAWK TECH, named after a Native American tribe, should become Janesville Tech, and INDIANHEAD TECH should be renamed Rice Lake Tech.

[1] Carroll College (Presbyterian), Lakeland and Northland (both United Church of Christ), Maranatha (Baptist), Carthage, Concordia, and Wisconsin Lutheran (all Lutheran). Marquette University, Edgewood, Silver Lake, Marian, St. Norbert, Viterbo, Mt. Mary, Cardinal Stritch, and Alverno (all Catholic).

[2] UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Platteville, UW-Green Bay, UW-River Falls, UW-Superior, and UW-Whitewater.

[3] UW-Baraboo, UW-Marshfield, UW-Richland Center, UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Manitowoc, UW-Marinette, UW-Sheboygan, and UW-Waukesha.

[4] Milwaukee Area Technical College, Madison Technical College, and Waukesha Technical College.


Republican Debate: Florida (1-26-12)

ROMNEY’S TAXES: Gingrich said Romney owns shares of Goldman Sachs and lives in a world of Swiss and Cayman Island bank accounts. He said he did not “know of any American president who had had a Swiss bank account.” Romney, who all along has said he is a great money manager, said “my investments are not made by me.” They have “for the last 10 years have been in a blind trust, managed by a trustee.” His trustee invests in mutual funds and bonds, he said, and not in stocks. When Gingrich said Romney made a million dollars off of stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Romney denied it. He said his trustee loaned money to Freddie and Fannie and received interest, like from U.S. savings bonds. His trustee diversified investments and reported the money held in Swiss accounts to the U.S. and he paid U.S. taxes on it. Romney repeated he did not inherit money and claimed to have earned it. He said his taxes and charitable contributions took about 40% of his income.

ROMNEY’S PARTY: Gingrich claims Romney voted for Democrat Paul Tsongas in 1992, and when he ran against Kennedy in 1994, he said he was an “independent” who did not want to go back to the Reagan-Bush era. Romney said he never voted for a Democrat when there was a Republican on the ballot.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul rejects a foreign policy that says we must be the policeman of the world. He opposes nation-building.

PUERTO RICO: Santorum was asked whether Puerto Rico should become a state. He said he believes in “self-determinism” and Puerto Ricans should decide for themselves.

CUBA: Paul said the sanctions against Cuba backfired and caused the Cuban people to rally behind Castro. The Cold War is over, and they are not going to invade us, he said. Romney said he will help the people of Cuba enjoy freedom when Fidel Castro is dead. He thinks Obama has ignored Cuba and Venezuela, and wants more trade with Colombia and Panama. Santorum opposes liberalizing trade or travel with Cuba.

LATIN AMERICA: Paul opposes dictating to Latin Americans what governments they should have. He said Santorum’s definition of standing up for Latin America means supporting dictators and undermining governments through the use of money. Santorum thinks Iran and the jihadists want to set up training camps in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. He opposes Latin American leaders Chavez, Noreiga, and Morales. He accused Obama of hanging our friends out to dry for 3 years in Colombia, and of standing with Chavez and Castro, instead of the people of Honduras. He denied wanting to use force in Latin America.

PALESTINE: All of the Republicans pandered to the Jewish vote in Florida. There is no peace between Israel and Palestine, Romney said, because he believes all Hamas wants to do is eliminate Israel and teach people to kill Jews. He incorrectly believes Palestinians do not want a two-state solution. He found fault with Obama for rightfully castigating Israel for illegally building settlements in Palestine in violation of international law. He showed ignorance on this subject by faulting Obama for suggesting a return to the 1967 borders. In an incredible statement, he said thought it was Obama who “disrespected” Netanyahu, when in fact it was Netanyahu who ungratefully and inappropriately lectured our U.S. President. Gingrich continued to defend his prior ignorant statement that Palestinians are an “invented people,” as he stated a belief that they are Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian or Jordanian, but not Palestinian. He thinks Obama undermined Israel. He would provoke greater tensions by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

MILITARY: Gingrich promised to make Jacksonville, Florida the home of a nuclear aircraft carrier battle group.

SPACE: Gingrich wants six or seven space launches a day. He reminded us when Kennedy said in May 1961: “We will go to the moon in this decade,” no American had even orbited the earth, and the technology didn’t even exist. He wants to give out prizes like the $25,000 Lindbergh received for flying to Paris. He asked: Does the Washington NASA office just sit around and think about space? 90% of those employed under his space plan would come from the private sector. He would get NASA out of the rocket business. Santorum wants young people involved in math and science, but said promising new space programs, when we are borrowing 40 cents on the dollar, is not responsible. Romney accused Gingrich of pandering, by telling NASA workers what they want to hear. He believes in a vibrant and strong space program, but described Gingrich’s plan to put a permanent colony on the moon, as an “enormous expense.” He would fire someone who wanted to spend a few billion dollars on it. He wants a space program related to commercial products. Paul would vote for only that part of the space program that supports national defense. The only things he would send to the moon are “some politicians.”

TRADE: Paul supports free trade in Latin America, including Cuba. Gingrich said the Jacksonville seaport has to be expanded, because the Panama Canal is being widened.

IMMIGRATION: Santorum wants to enforce the immigration laws we have. We need legal immigration he said, to keep our population growing. The first act of responsible immigrants is to obey our laws, and then continue respecting them. He would use the employer E-verify system to enforce immigration. He speculated illegals steal Social Security numbers (who says they are not paid cash under the table, and use no SS number at all). Gingrich pledged to control the border by Jan. 1, 2014. He would fix the visa system to make it easier to come and go. He wants to make deportation easier. He doubts grandmothers would self-deport and would not enter church sanctuaries to deport those who sought shelter. He said Miami has 94 languages, and wants English as the official one, adding everyone should learn it to get jobs. He denied calling Spanish a ghetto language. Romney said the problem with illegals is they take jobs legal residents would like, put their kids in school districts that can’t afford them, and get free health care, because emergency rooms must provide it. He favors work permits and identification cards, an E-verify system, and severe sanctions against employers who hire illegals, so those unable to find work will self-deport. He would not round up people or deport the 11 million illegally in this country. He said his father was born in Mexico. (Since the Constitution limits the Presidency to “natural born” citizens, how was his father able to run for President in 1967?) Romney wants English as the official language and schools to provide English immersion classes. Paul said resentment towards illegals goes up when the economy is down. Businesses are now looking for workers, but can’t find them. We worry about the Afghan and Pakistan borders too much, Paul said, and not enough about our own.

JOBS: Romney said there is 9.9% unemployment in Florida, but it is really 18%. Lowering corporate taxes would get people back to work, he said.

FINANCE: Paul said the Middle Class is losing their jobs and houses, but Wall Street got bailouts. He wants to bring back the gold standard, since it is mentioned in the Constitution.

HOUSING: Paul said, after the crash, the bad paper should have been auctioned off and sold, and it would have been cleansed by now. The problem was caused by excessive credit and interest rates that were too low for too long. The Community Reinvestment Act is affirmative action, he said, which tells banks to make risky loans. The line of credit from the Fed to Freddie and Fannie should have been cut. Romney said Fannie and Freddie are a big part of the housing crisis. They caused a housing bubble that collapsed, and are still offering mortgages to people who can’t afford them. Santorum wrote a letter in 2006 with 24 Senators warning of a meltdown as they requested reforms of Freddie and Fannie. He said we need to decrease the amount of mortgage that can be financed by Freddie. Gingrich said he told Republicans in July 2008 to deny money to Freddie and Fannie.

ENVIRONMENT: Gingrich said the Everglades Restoration Project must be completed.

HEALTH CARE: Santorum said medical savings accounts would get consumers involved in the cost of health care. He reminded voters that Romney and Gingrich supported the individual mandate, and if they are nominated, the issue will be forfeited to Obama. He claims people in Mass are now opting to be fined, because the cost of health insurance is too high. Paul said health care is a greater priority than going to the moon. Health insurance should be affordable for individuals, he said, so employed or not, they can have it. He claims the cost of medicine went up, because the government distorted that sector of the economy, and pumped money into it. He repeated his unfounded belief that before Medicare and Medicaid, nobody was on the streets without health care. Gingrich said the system that existed in the early 1960s was fundamentally less expensive. Romney said it doesn’t make sense to lose your health insurance if you lose your job. He insisted on personal responsibility in Mass to end free riders. He distinguished his plan from Obama’s, saying the President’s cuts Medicare 500 billion, and raises taxes 500 billion.

BUDGET: After Gingrich repeated his claim he balanced budgets four times in the 1990s, Paul pointed out the National Debt actually went up by a trillion dollars in those years, because money was taken from the Social Security Trust Fund. He said neither Reagan nor Gingrich had balanced budgets, as the National Debt went up. Santorum said we must get our financial house in order.

TAXES: Santorum opposes a 0% capital gains tax, saying guys like Romney wouldn’t pay much at all. He theorized when tax rates increase, the rate of return decreases, leading to investments in non-taxable instruments. He said a 28% top bracket was good enough for Reagan, and is good enough for him. His lower bracket would be 10%. Gingrich was asked why under his tax plan he would let someone like Romney pay nothing, and Gingrich said he wants everyone to pay 15%. Paul favors getting rid of the 16th Amendment, which allows income taxes, and said we also would have to get rid of the warfare and welfare systems.

RELIGION: Romney thinks our nation is based on Judeo-Christian ethics. He would seek the guidance of providence in making critical decisions. When the Founders drafted the Declaration of Independence, he said, they referred to being endowed with certain inalienable rights. Gingrich would seek guidance from God. He thinks there is an aggressive war being fought by secular elites in the news media and in the judiciary, against the Christian religion. Santorum actually believes the Constitution exists “to do one thing: protect God-given rights” and said our rights are “god-given rights and not government-given rights”


Republican Debate: S. Carolina (1-16-12)

DEFENSE SPENDING: When Ron Paul was asked if his policies would eliminate military jobs in South Carolina, he said he wants to cut spending overseas. Spending 1 billion on an embassy in Iraq, he said, is not defense, it is waste. He would follow Eisenhower’s admonition about the military-industrial complex, as he said, we don’t need 900 bases in 130 countries. Romney wants a military so strong no one would test it. He apparently believes our navy is now smaller than it was in 1917, and our air force is smaller than it was in 1947. (Does he really think this?)

FOREIGN POLICY: We should declare war before getting into one, Paul lectured. We no longer declare war. We now use the doctrine of “pre-emptive war” to start them. We don’ t even have enemies. We bomb countries and then wonder why they get upset with us. Paul was booed as he said we wouldn’t like it if other countries did to us, what we do to them. Paul was also booed when he said we should follow the Golden Rule in foreign policy.

AFGHAN: Paul wants to bring our troops home. His support is from military personnel, sick and tired of war. We are not leaving Afghanistan, even though 80% of America wants out. When Paul was in the Air Force (1962-68), he served in the Afghan-Pakistan region, and remembers the Taliban were our allies, when we opposed the Russian intervention. He warned us not to mix the Taliban, who oppose foreign intervention, with al Qaeda, who seek to kill us. Romney would not negotiate with the Taliban, because he thinks they declared war on us. He said Obama’s announcement of a withdrawal, weakened our ability to negotiate.

IRAQ: Paul said we are still in Iraq. Romney believes incorrectly we “had to” go to war “in the case of Iraq.”

IRAN: Paul said regarding Iran, they are building up for another war we don’t need.

PAKISTAN: Paul believes we have a flawed Pakistan policy.

SYRIA: Santorum said Syria is a threat to Israel. He wants to bring about the removal of Assad, but opposes U.S. intervention.

TURKEY: Perry, who lived in Turkey while in the Air Force in the 1970s, made the ridiculous and stupid argument they have been taken over by Islamic terrorists. He said their membership in NATO should be re-evaluated, and their foreign aid should go to zero. He lumped Turkey in the same category with Iran and Syria, even though these countries are vastly different.

RULE OF LAW: Paul denied he opposed the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He in fact voted for the authority to go after him, following 911. He asked: What is so bad about capturing people? We captured Saddam Hussein, tried him, and hung him. Adolf Eichmann was also captured, given a trial, and executed. Why didn’t we try to get information from bin Laden? Gingrich said we need to just kill America’s enemies, not capture them. Romney also said the right thing for Osama bin Laden was a bullet in the head. He said we have a right to detain al Qaeda in prison, as enemy combatants, and deny them due process of law. Paul said the Patriot Act eliminated the 4th Amendment. The Defense Appropriation Act allows us to take citizens under suspicion, and hold them indefinitely, without a lawyer, or the right of habeas corpus. 260 al Qaeda have been tried and convicted Paul said, and we don’t need to give up on the judicial system. Perry said terrorists who cut off heads and hang contractors from bridges, commit despicable acts, not the Marines who urinated on corpses.

IMMIGRATION: Romney opposes favoritism or special routes to citizenship. We have to stop the flood of illegal immigration, he said. Perry would secure the borders.

JOBS: Gingrich claims he and Reagan created 16 million jobs and he and Bill Clinton added another 11 million. He wants to find ways to help the poor learn how to get a job and someday own it.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Santorum thinks it’s wrong for the federal government to uproot state unemployment programs by extending benefits. Gingrich would connect UC to job training.

LABOR: Santorum admitted voting against a right-to-work law, saying he is from a non-right-to-work state. Perry claimed the NLRB is telling South Carolina, a right to work state, what to do.

FINANCE: Perry advocates repealing the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. Romney vowed if Europe has a financial crisis, he won’t give a blank check or go over there to save their banks.

VULTURE CAPITALISM: Gingrich asked Romney to respond to questions about taking money out of companies, walking off with profits, and letting them go bankrupt. Bain invested in over 100 companies, Romney said. Four created 120,000 jobs, while others lost jobs. He said Staples, Bright Horizons, the Sports Authority and a steel company in Indiana added 120,000 jobs. He was asked about American Pad and Paper, which after being purchased for 5 million, borrowed money, took 100 million in profit, and then went bankrupt. Romney said people who lost jobs were offered new ones in other plants. Perry accused Romney of picking a company apart in Georgetown, SC and causing people to lose jobs. Romney said the SC steel mill closed down, because of dumping from abroad.

ENERGY: Romney would take advantage of our natural resources and would use oil, coal, gas, and nuclear.

HOUSING: Perry thinks the federal government via Freddie and Fannie should get out of the housing market.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney would make no changes for those 55 or older, but he would add a year or two to the retirement age. Gingrich said Chile has a system that yields 2 to 3 times the government payment. He would make all Americans investors.

HEALTH: Romney wants a premium support program for Medicare. He would send Medicaid back to the states. He would repeal Obamacare.

BUDGET: Romney claimed to have balanced the Mass. budget every year. Perry wants a Balanced Budget Amendment.

TAXES: Romney claimed to have reduced taxes 19 times in Mass. He said tax rates are too high. He would reduce the top rate from 35% to 25% and eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. When asked if he would release his tax returns, he said he had not planned on it, but maybe in April, if he becomes the nominee. Perry said the highest federal income tax rate should be 7%. He would have a flat tax of 20%, but would allow home mortgage, local taxes, and charitable deductions. He would get rid of capital gains taxes. Santorum wants just a 10% and a 28% rate. He would cut corporate taxes from 35% to 17.5%. Manufacturing would be treated differently, because they are in competition with the rest of the world. Gingrich wants a flat tax rate of 15%. Paul would reduce income taxes to zero.

DISCRIMINATION IN LEGAL SYSTEM: Paul said blacks are imprisoned at a rate four times greater than whites for victimless drug-related offenses.

VOTING RIGHTS: Santorum asked Romney if X-felons who have done their time should be allowed to vote. When Romney said he didn’t think former felons should be allowed to vote, Santorum reminded him that Mass allowed even those who still on probation or parole to vote, and asked Romeny why he did not try to change that law. Perry said South Carolina is at war with the federal government over their voter ID law.

CAMPAIGN ADS: Romney hoped super-PACs would run accurate ads. He favors getting rid of campaign finance laws. He wants campaigns to run their own ads, and take responsibility for them. He said he could not talk to Super-PACs running his ads.

EDUCATION: Gingrich said No Child Left Behind is a failure, as teachers teach to the test. He would eliminate Dept. of Education

ENTITLEMENTS: Romney thinks Obama is making the U.S. an entitlement society, another European social welfare state.

POVERTY/FOOD STAMPS: Santorum believes three things are need to avoid poverty: a job, high school diploma, and marriage before having children. He claims Obama no longer promotes marriage as a way of avoiding poverty. Gingrich claims 185 different federal bureaucracies deal with low income Americans. He thinks Obama wants to maximize dependency. He called him “the best food stamp president in American history.” When he was asked if it was insulting to suggest black kids should work as school janitors, and blacks should demand jobs, not food stamps, he said no, to wild applause from a white audience of prejudiced South Carolina Republicans. He believes NY pays their janitors an absurd amount of money. The crowd booed Juan Williams as he asked Gingrich if he was belittling racial minorities about a lack of a work ethic, and by saying Obama was a food stamp president. Gingrich said more people than ever went on food stamps during the past three years of the Obama administration.

RELIGION: Perry thinks Obama is at war against organized religion. He claimed the Catholic Church cannot receive federal funds, because of their position on abortion.

GAYS: Romney said he supports equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, but he has always opposed gay marriage.

GUNS: Gingrich accused Romney of signing a ban on assault weapons and of increasing fees on gun owners by 400%.  Romney said the Mass law was supported by both sides. Santorum said his support for trigger locks and background checks was backed by the NRA. He banned lawsuits against gun manufacturers, where injuries were sustained despite proper use of a firearm. Paul said we should not have national tort law, since these issues should be dealt with by the states. Santorum said lawsuits would have gone forward in liberal states, if there was not a national ban.

ABORTION: Gingrich opposes abortion and China’s one-child policy.


Republican Debate in Iowa (12-15-11)

PAUL ON IRAN: What is happening regarding Iran, Paul said, is no different than the 2003 propaganda as to Iraq. There is no proof Iran has nuclear weapons. There is no UN or IAEA report with evidence. Why do we have 900 bases in 130 countries? Why are we flying drones over Iran? Why do we bomb so many countries? They may want to harm us, because we bomb them, not because of what we believe. They would not attack Switzerland or Sweden for what they believe. Sanctions are an act of war. They could lead to economic calamity, if oil is kept from Europe. The greatest danger is Presidential overreaction and a bombing of Iran. Even Israel’s Head of Security said it wouldn’t make sense to bomb Iran. While we don’t want to see Iran with nuclear weapons, it’s dangerous to declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims. Paul said when he was drafted in 1962, the world was dangerous, but as nuclear missiles were sited in Cuba, Kennedy talked Khrushchev down, and we avoided a nuclear exchange. We lived through the Cold War with 30,000 missiles pointed at us, and we shouldn’t jump the gun now. We just don’t need another war, Paul said.

OTHERS ON IRAN: Romney called Obama weak regarding the spy drone incident. Perry would have destroyed or retrieved the drone, but Obama did neither. Bachmann believes Iran will use nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel and attack the U.S. She believes an IAEA report says Iran is just months away from obtaining the bomb. Santorum thinks Iran has been at war with us since 1979. They tried to assassinate a Saudi Ambassador, and they make IEDs that kill our soldiers. He called them a radical theocracy. If they had nuclear weapons, it wouldn’t be like the Cold War, since they believe in martyrdom. He made the ridiculous argument: “they don’t hate us because of what we do, or the policies we have, they hate us because of who we are, and what we believe in.” He said we should work with Israel ro plan strikes against their facilities. Gingrich said the Iranians plan to close the Straits of Hormuz.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul would adopt a pro-American foreign policy, which is the opposite of policing the world. Huntsman wants a policy driven by economics, which leaves the Cold War behind. Perry said we should assert the Monroe Doctrine as to Iran, Venezuela, and Mexico, like we did in the 60s with Cuba.

CHINA: Huntsman was questioned about a 22% tariff China imposed on U.S. sport utility vehicles, but he sidestepped it saying we need shared democracy, human rights, and religious toleration.

IRAQ: Bachmann said Obama intentionally chose to lose the peace, and Iran will now become a dominant influence in Iraq.

LATIN AMERICA: Santorum said Obama embraced Chavez and Ortega, and thinks jihadist training camps are working with drug cartels in Latin America, planning assaults on the U.S.

MILITARY: Romney wants to increase the number of Navy ships built each year from 9 to 15. He said we need another 100,000 military troops, but he did not explain how he would get them.

SYRIA: When Perry was asked if the U.S. should intervene in Syria, he said he supports a No-Fly-Zone, because he says they are attached at the hip to Iran, and we need to stand with Israel.

ISRAEL: Gingrich said 200 missiles were fired at Israel this year. He neglected to say how many strikes Israel made against others.

UN: Gingrich called the UN a corrupt institution that beats up on our allies. He would not fund it and would dramatically reduce our reliance on it. He claimed UN camps are training grounds for terrorism, and their textbooks are funded by the UN. Huntsman said the UN serves useful peacekeeping-humanitarian purposes, but noted they have anti-American and anti-Israel sentiments.

IMMIGRATION: Romney promised an ID card for legal aliens to use when applying for jobs, along with E-verify checks. If employers hire without the card, serious sanctions would apply. He would send illegals to the back of the line. Perry said the El Paso border is not safe. Gingrich suggested a loss of tax deductions for those who hire illegally. He would drop the lawsuits against AZ, SC and Alabama. Huntsman would not pander to Hispanics, adding illegals are down due to the economy. He reminded us legal immigration is a growth engine.

JOBS: Romney said 25 million Americans are out of work, but the government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector does.

MANUFACTURING: Romney said manufacturing will come back to the U.S., but he did not explain how. Santorum thinks manufacturing is not competitive and tax rates should be lowered to zero and regulations should be repealed.

VULTURE CAPITALISM: Romney claimed he successfully ran Staples, Bright Horizons Children’s Centers, and an Indiana steel mill. Some of the 100 different businesses he was involved with laid people off, but they also added tens of thousands of jobs. When Obama took over GM, he said, dealerships were closed, and he had the same experience. Gingrich accused Romney of making millions by laying off people and bankrupting companies. He appeared confused when he suggested electric coops and credits unions are government sponsored institutions.

HOUSING: Bachmann accused Gingrich of taking 1.6 million from Freddie Mac to influence Republicans into keeping the scam going. Gingrich did not deny earning 1.6 million and he said he liked “government sponsored enterprises” like Freddy Mac, because they made home ownership more affordable. He thinks it’s a conservative principle to help families buy homes. He now would break up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Paul said government sponsored enterprises received excessive credit from the Fed under the Community Reinvestment Act. Money comes from taxpayers, and when they go broke, we bail them out. Huntsman complained of banks that are too big to fail.

ENERGY: Romney said we have energy resources and should give out permits to drill for natural gas and oil. Gingrich said the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to Houston will bring oil to the U.S. and create 20,000 American jobs. If not, the Canadians will send it to Vancouver, where it will be shipped to China. Huntsman wants to use natural gas to get rid of our heroin-like addiction to imported oil. Bachmann criticized Obama’s moratorium on Gulf drilling and supports Keystone. She thinks Obama opposes it, because he would lose the support of radical environmentalists.

HEALTH: Huntsman said he delivered on health care reform in his state, without a mandate.

BUDGET & TAXES: Paul said the budget is out of control because of earmarks, which he never voted for. He said there are two factions; the warfare group that wants cuts in welfare; and the welfare group wants to cut warfare. He would eliminate 1 billion in spending from the federal budget in the first year. Romney said the debt is now 15 trillion, and the President racked up as much as all others combined. Huntsman as governor delivered on a flat-tax, and refused to sign a no-tax-hike pledge. Perry supports a Balanced Budget Amendment and wants tax policies that help business become competitive. Bachmann pledged no new taxes, because we’ve been taxed enough. We cannot spend more than we take in.  Gingrich claimed to have balanced the federal budget and paid off 405 billion in debt.

JUDICIARY: Gingrich would subpoena judges before Congress as to controversial decisions and would impeach them. He said the courts have become dictatorial, too powerful, and arrogant. Jefferson abolished 18 of 35 federal judges in 1802. He thought it absurd to view the Supreme Court as supreme. Lincoln repudiated Dred Scott in 1861. Bachmann said the Founders wanted courts to be the least powerful branch. They do not have power to make law. She would appoint only judges who believe in the original intent of the Constitution. Paul said Congress can get rid of courts, but he questioned Congressional authority to subpoena judges, as this would violate the Separation of Powers. When Romney was accused of appointing Democrats to be judges in Mass., he said a 7-member council made the appointments. He promised to appoint prosecutors. He said Congress should not oversee judges, because they have less credibility. Perry’s favorite justices were Alito, Roberts, and Thomas. Romney added Scalia. Gingrich and Bachmann liked all four. Huntsman limited himself to Roberts and Alito. Paul said all of them have good and bad features. Perry called for a part-time Congress and a 50% cut in their salaries.

GAYS: Romney opposed discrimination against people based on sexual orientation. He also opposed same-sex marriage. Santorum said Romney issued gay marriage licenses, but Romney explained the Mass Constitution required him to do so.

GUNS: Romney signed an assault weapons ban, but is now pro-gun.

ABORTION: Romney changed his mind on abortion, saying he was a pro-choice governor, but realized he was wrong when he vetoed an embryo bill. He is now pro-life. Santorum, who is 100% pro-life from conception to death, said Gingrich could have defunded Planned Parenthood, but he chose not to. Gingrich insisted he has a 98.5% pro-life record. He said life begins at conception, when embryos are conceived. They should be regarded as life and not experimented with. He opposes partial-birth abortion.

RELIGION: Gingrich complained of a 9th Circuit ruling that said “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. He called the judges anti-American.


Mormons Field 2 Presidential Candidates

Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and former Gov. John Huntsman of Utah are not only vying for the Republican Presidential nomination, they both belong to the Church of Latter-Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church. Since this is the first time any Mormon has ever run for President, it is time for a debriefing on their religion.

The Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) was founded in New York in 1830 by Joseph Smith, after he claimed to have received visions from god. The new church drafted a Book of Mormon to supplement the Bible. Smith moved his people to Missouri, but the locals drove them back into Illinois, where Smith was taken from a jail cell in 1844, and executed by a mob. Brigham Young, a church apostle, then led a Mormon exodus from Illinois in 1847, to their new land in Salt lake City, Utah.

Mormons are perhaps most famous for having once allowed polygamy, a practice that permits men to have more than one wife. Polygamy was terminated in 1890, as a condition for U.S. statehood, which was granted to Utah in 1896.

Mormons today are interested in spiritual and worldly affairs. They actively try to convert people to their faith. As their boys become young men, they serve overseas as missionaries, usually for two-year stints. Today, they have 52,000 missionaries at 340 missions worldwide. Their dress code requires white shirts and ties, and their chastity law keeps the young men from having relations with women, while serving as missionaries. Mormons avoid alcohol, as well as other forms of entertainment.

Gov. Romney was a Mormon missionary in France (1966-68), and Gov. Huntsman served in Taiwan, China (late 1970s).

While the spiritual missionary practice of trying to convert others to the Mormon faith accomplishes little, one collateral benefit is the exposure it gives their young men to a variety of cultures throughout the world. The missionaries gain a global education, not through books, but by just being there. While the Republicans should not receive our votes for reasons other than religion, it is comforting to know Huntsman was in China, and Romney was in France, as they had to have learned something while abroad.


Philosophy in the Day: “Live for Today”

40 years ago at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, my mind was turned on to various philosophical issues in a Basic Philosophy class, but it was not until I attended a lecture by Leo Buscaglia, a visiting Professor of Love from the University of Southern California, that I was enlightened as to how life should be lived.

The Professor started at the end of life and worked backward. He asked what the dead would do, if they could come back for a day. He prompted us to think about living, by making us consider how bad it would be to have reached the end, without having really lived. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do? He quoted Thoreau who said: “Oh god, to have reached the point of death, only to find that you have never lived at all.”

The Doctor said people need to fill their lives with love, but many die of loneliness, because they never learned that it doesn’t just happen. We waste time, as if we are going to live forever, he said. Since we will not, we must take advantage of the time we have.

He suggested getting busy with life, and being spontaneous by letting others know how we feel. Expecting something from another, thinking it is just going to happen by chance, is a formula for unhappiness. People who want love have to act. If you like what someone said, hug them. Don’t be afraid to show emotion. We have to let others know our needs, or they may never be met.

He warned against trying to be something other than who we are. The hardest thing is to be what others want you to be. The easiest thing is to simply be you. If you try to be like someone else, you may get close, but will always be only second best.

He warned against living in the past, since it is dead, and cannot be changed. He cautioned against living for tomorrow, because it often leads to nothing but unrealized dreams. The tomorrow most dream of never comes, since such things cannot be guaranteed.

His bottom line, back in the day, was to live for today. He said Buddhists believe in the here and now, and their only reality is what is right in front of them; what is happening between you and me right now. He advocated catching the beauty of the moment. He said the only thing in life of value is to: Live for Today.


Republican Debate: Nevada (10-18-11)

The Republican Presidential candidates debated in Nevada.

DEFENSE SPENDING: Ron Paul said there is a lot of money in the military budget that does no good. We have an empire with 900 bases in 150 countries, and would be safer if we were not in so many places. Why keep troops in Korea, Japan, or Germany? We have more weapons than all other nations combined, Paul said, enough to blow up the world 20 to 25 times. Bachmann said defense spending should be on the table, but not 500 million. Gingrich would determine our threats, and calculate the cost of a response. Santorum would not cut a penny of military spending.

AFGHANISTAN: Ron Paul said the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan, because the Soviet Union was brought down by entering that country, and the same thing will happen to us.

FOREIGN AID: Romney said we spend more on foreign aid than we should, and we should let China do it, because it makes no sense to borrow from China to give aid to others. Paul would cut all foreign aid, including aid to Israel, saying the Constitution does not authorize it. Aid to Israel does not help, but only teaches dependency. We take from the poor, Paul said, and give to the rich in poor states. He said look at the aid we gave to Egypt. We spent billions pumping up a dictator, and yet they are hostile to us. Cain would give foreign aid to friends, like Israel, but not enemies. Bachmann opposed cutting foreign aid to Israel, since she believes they are our greatest ally.

ISRAEL: Bachmann incorrectly accused Obama of being the first president since Israeli independence to put daylight between our nations. (She never studied Eisenhower’s stand at Suez in 1956)

UN & PALESTINE: Perry thought it was a travesty for the Palestinian Authority to go to the UN to seek statehood. He asked why the U.S. is contributing to the UN. He would defund it.

LIBYA & IRAQ: Bachmann wants Libya and Iraq to reimburse us for the cost of bombing their countries. She wants our troops to have immunity for any and all wrongdoing committed in Iraq.

IRAN: Bachmann accused Iran of an attempted assassination on U.S. soil. The number one global issue, she said, is Iran and nuclear weapons. She called their leader a genocidal maniac, but offered no proof to back up her claim. Santorum also said our central threat is Iran. Neither candidate explained how or why they see Iran as a credible threat to the U.S.

TERROR: Paul said Reagan negotiated with Iranian terrorists for a return of hostages. Gingrich said Reagan made a mistake. Bachmann would not release anyone at Guantanamo. Can would not negotiate. Santorum would never negotiate, period.

WALL STREET: Cain had said: “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job, and you are not rich, blame yourself.” He said Wall Street did nothing wrong; they did not spend a trillion for no good. Protesters should be in front of the White House, Cain said. Ron Paul accused Cain of blaming victims. He would protest in front of the Federal Reserve and in Washington. The bailout was supported by both parties, Paul said. They bailed out big corporations, who ripped off people in the derivatives market. They thought the world would end if we did not bail banks out. The middle class got stuck. Paul said if money was given out, it should have gone to people who lost their mortgages, not the banks. Romney called the protests dangerous class warfare, and said Obama is to blame over the past three years, as he says he has no idea how the private sector works.

HOUSING: Santorum said Romney, Perry, and Cain supported TARP. Cain said people on the top who took risks got bailed out in 2008, but the market should have been allowed to work. Perry wanted Congress to act, but did not want TARP. Santorum said Perry supported the particular TARP plan on the House floor. Romney said government should not give a couple thousand dollars to buy a new home, or to keep banks from foreclosing.

JOBS: Perry wants to focus on the 9% unemployed. Santorum said no more products “Made in America” hurts the middle class. Gingrinch wants America off food stamps and on paychecks. Romney said half the jobs created in Texas were filled by illegals.

IMMIGRATION: Texan Ron Paul said a fence is not the answer to illegal immigration. We worry more about the Afghan and Pakistan borders than our own, Paul said, and need to bring our National Guards home so they can guard our borders. Perry blamed the federal government for failing to secure the 1,200 mile Texas border, and for the huge number of illegals looking for jobs. Businesses who hire illegals ought to be penalized, Perry said. He does not want to repeal the 14th Amendment as to citizenship by birth. A fence could be built, Perry said, but it would take 15 years and 30 billion. He instead recommended strategic fencing where it matters, and predator drones to direct boots on the ground. Perry accused Romney of hiring illegals to work on his property, but Romney denied it, saying it’s hard to know if lawn care contractors employ illegals. When he learned they hired illegals, they were let go. Perry also accused Romney of offering amnesty to aliens. Romney said Perry was the one open to amnesty, and accused him of creating a magnet by giving aliens a $100,000 tuition credit, a practice that must end. We must stop employer magnets by enforcing E-Verify. Romney also said 4.5 million want to come here legally in an orderly way. He said Perry’s Texas had a 60% increase in illegal immigration, while California and Florida had none. Cain would build a fence and have it electrified. He would promote a path to citizenship, and shut the back door, so people could come in the front door. He wants to empower states. Bachmann accused Obama’s aunt and uncle of being illegal aliens. She took a pledge to build a wall, saying illegals cost 113 billion a year. She would also enforce English as the official language. She said they cross the border to have anchor babies and the welfare that come with it. Gingrich said to 50 million Latinos, not all of whom are illegal, that America is the most open nation to immigration in history.

ENERGY: Paul said it’s wrong for 49 states to dump nuclear garbage in Nevada. Romney said Nevadans should have the final say and not have it jammed down their throats.  He wants energy independence, using our own natural resources. France gets 70% of their energy from nuclear power, Perry said. He wants 1.2 million people working on energy. We shouldn’t rely on OPEC, saying we should be energy independent. We need not subsidize energy. Gingrich wants a safe way of take care of nuclear waste.

HEALTH CARE: Paul said we need more medical competition. Americans should be allowed to opt out of Obama’s health care. Bachmann said even the Obama Administration realized they cannot afford Long Term Care. Santorum said Obama failed to focus on the cost of health care, which is the real problem. He said Romney has no credibility, since Obama’s plan was basically his. Romney called Obama’s plan unconstitutional, which should be repealed, as it is a huge burden on the economy. He would turn Medicare over to the states. He said his plan for Mass. was not for the entire nation. The idea of the individual mandate came from Gingrich, Romney said. His state relied on private insurers. The uninsured got private not government insurance. When it comes to knowledge about health care, Romney said I am the doctor. Gingrich admitted supporting the individual mandate in opposition to Hillarycare, but the Heritage Foundation came up with the idea. He said a small business is Mass. is being ordered to pay a fine of $3,000 for not paying $750 month in premiums.

TAXES: Cain tried to defend his 999 tax plan, which would impose a 9% federal sales tax and repeal all tax breaks. He argued it would remove all hidden income taxes in goods and services, and was not a value-added tax, but a single tax, which was revenue neutral. He failed to convince anyone it would not raise taxes on those making the least. Bachmann, a tax lawyer, also wants to abolish the tax code, but said Cain’s 999 plan would destroy the economy. She warned if Congress was given a new sales tax, it would never go away. She argued it would be applied against products at every stage of production. Everyone should pay taxes, she said, even if it is only $1. Santorum said 84% of Americans would pay more under Cain’s plan, which eliminates all deductions and exemptions. Getting rid of deductions would mean those with home mortgages would pay more, and people with three children would pay the same tax as a single man. He favored cutting the tax rate for manufacturing to zero. Perry, whose state already has a 6.25% sales tax, said Nevada’s is 8%, and New Hampshire’s is 0%, but no state wanted a 9% federal sales tax; they want flatter and fairer taxes. Romney said to a cheering crowd, Nevada does not want a 9% federal sales tax on top of an 8% state sales tax.  Paul opposes Cain’s plan, because it is regressive and increase taxes. He would replace income taxes with nothing. Gingrich wants to reduce capital gains taxes to zero.

RELIGION: Perry disagreed with the pastor who said Mormonism is a cult. Romney said the Founders appreciated the Freedom of Religion. The Founders went to great length to create a nation with a Constitution that respected all.


Religulous By Bill Maher: Worth Viewing

Bill Maher’s movie Religulous was on last night, and as expected it was funny, but also a serious political commentary on religion.

Maher had a Jewish mother and Catholic father, who sent him to a parochial school, when the church was going through the great questioning and change of the 1960s. Like millions, Bill quit the church, as it failed to answer his basic questions. He is now an Agnostic, who freely admits he has absolutely no idea why he exists.

Religion can be broken down into two groups, the supernatural school, and those who do good things on earth. Maher left alone those who feed the poor, take care of the sick, and educate the illiterate. He instead unleashed his fury on the supernatural.

MARY: Bill mocked the idea Mary was impregnated by a Holy Ghost, and had an Immaculate Conception.

JESUS: He questioned what we know about Jesus, first mentioned in Gospels written hundreds of years after he died, by men who never met him. He reminded us there are no eye-witness accounts of his life. He asked why god’s only son would voluntarily go on a “suicide mission.”

BIBLE: Bill made fun of fictitious or exaggerated Biblical stories, like the tale of Jonah, who lived inside a whale for three days. Creation was also said to be obviously incorrect, since scientists proved the earth is far more than 5,000 years old.

OTHER HOLY BOOKS: The story of Christ, Maher noted, appears to have been plagiarized, as it is oddly the same as Krishna of India, the Persian Mithra, and an Egyptian god.

EVOLUTION Bill asked how anyone could believe the Bible’s account of Creation, since all credible scientists agree man evolved from the ape. Even Pope John Paul accepted evolution.

GOD: If there is a good god: Why would he have allowed the Holocaust? Bill said the notion of a god is as ridiculous as Santa.

PRAYER: Maher challenges those who communicate with an Almighty. The idea Moses talked to god on a mountain through a burning bush is crazy. Many who hear god’s voice just before a homicide are mentally ill. The Lord is not really speaking to them. If you pray for rain, and it happens, it is coincidence, Maher said.

DEVIL: If god is all powerful, why doesn’t he destroy the devil?

HEAVEN/HELL: We don’t know what happens when we die. Why believe in a theory that suggests you may roast in hell?

BELIEFS: Why is faith good? He questioned those certain of their beliefs. People have religion, because they were born into it; they have always had it. Why do they not question the existence of god? Why do they refuse to discuss religion in an intelligent way?

SCIENCE: Bill said religion is not based on science, as it came about during an era when people thought the world was flat. While the scriptures were written between 2,000 BC and 200 AD, modern science has only been around the past 500 years.

FEAR: The movie showed many believed based on nothing more than unfounded fears. Several asked Bill: What if you are wrong? It is this fear of being wrong that keeps them within the flock.

POLITICS: The biggest problem is mixing religion and politics. Maher criticized conservatives who pander to religion in debates, or while campaigning. He worries about preachers who say it’s time for God’s people to vote. He fears those who want a Christian nation, even though Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson had serious doubts about organized religion. Maher laments the fact that non-believers, who constitute 16% of the public, and form a substantial minority, are largely ignored.

10 COMMANDMENTS: Except for “do not steal” and “do not kill,” Maher challenged the usefulness of the 10 Commandments.

GAYS: Bill attacked the treatment of gays in the Old Testament. He doubts a good god, who made them gay in the first place, would hate his own creation. Jesus never spoke of gays at all, he said. There is no reason for Christians to be hostile towards them.

CAUSE OF WAR: The biggest problem is the destruction and death ravaged upon human kind over the years in the name of religion. He concludes religion is an irrational danger, and we need to either grow up, or risk death in another religious war.


Zero Population Growth: Do They Care?

Most of the Republican presidential candidates have relatively large numbers of children, and have not personally shown any concern about population growth, an important global issue.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative Catholic, has seven children; former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, a Mormon, has seven; former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, another Mormon, has five; Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a Baptist, has five; and the queen bee of them all, Evangelical Lutheran Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, has five of her own.

40 years ago, there was a movement on college campuses warning students that unrestrained growth in global population would lead to food shortages, disease, conflict, and other such consequences. It was based on the writings of Thomas Malthus. To save the earth, Zero Population Growth (ZPG), as it was known, encouraged young people to limit families to one or two children.

The Peoples Republic of China also recognized the need to limit unrestrained families. While their large population was growing geometrically, food supplies were only increasing arithmetically. Chinese leaders acted boldly, and moved aggressively, as they adopted a one-child policy, and derailed a potential catastrophe.

In the democracies of Europe and North America, no government mandate was needed, as most young Europeans and Americans understood the math, and voluntarily adopted ZPG principles, limiting their families to no more than one or two children.

While Ron Paul had his children before the enlightenment of the 1960s and 1970s, questions should be put to Bachmann, Santorum, Romney and Huntsman. Why did they have such large families? Do they deny the math and science of the problem?

The answer is these Republicans simply don’t care about Thomas Malthus, ZPG, or others who use math, science, and logic to guide their lives. They are instead blind followers of Biblical teachings, and fundamentalist religious beliefs. If everyone thought like them 40 years ago, the planet would now be in a serious state of chaos.

Although very few openly discuss the ongoing need for Zero Population Growth today, this does not mean the problem was solved. We still need leaders who understand the dangers of unrestrained growth, and have taken the initiative to limit their own families to one or two children. Most Republicans would be in no position to lead on this issue, since even now they just don’t seem to get it.


Abortion: Will They Abort The Issue?

Roe-v Wade (1973), the abortion case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court 38 years ago, is still an issue in national and state politics. Last week, the Republican-dominated Florida legislature passed six bills, all designed at making it more difficult to obtain a legal abortion. The Republicans also placed on the 2012 ballot, a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution as to abortion.

The Republican objective is to increase government interference in the personal lives of women, and to restrict their constitutional right to liberty. Their goal is to meddle, as much as possible, in the doctor-patient relationship. These latter-day Republicans don’t respect the right to privacy, liberty, or the freedom from religion.

The Court recognized a constitutional right of personal privacy in Roe v Wade. They said: “This right of privacy…founded in the 14th Amendment concept of personal liberty…is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision…to terminate her pregnancy.”

As to the unborn, they said: “There has always been strong support for the view that life does not begin, until live birth” (p. 160). “No case could be cited that holds that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the 14th Amendment.” (p. 157). “The word ‘person’ as used in the 14th Amendment does not include the unborn.” (p. 158). If the Court had found otherwise, they would have been writing law, not interpreting it.

The Roe Court conceded abortion rights are not absolute. (p. 154). “Some state regulation…is appropriate.” (p. 154). “At some point the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards and prenatal life, become dominant.” (p. 155). The state’s “legitimate interest in potential life…is at viability. This is so, because the fetus then presumably has the capacity of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb….If the state is interested in protecting fetal life after viability, it may…proscribe abortion.” (p. 163).

The Court further defined viability in Colautti v Franklin (1979), when it said: “Viability is reached, when in the judgment of the attending physician on the particular facts of the case before him, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus sustaining survival outside the womb, with or without artificial support.” (p. 388).

The Supreme Court did not write law in 1973, they simply did their job, and interpreted the word liberty in the 14th Amendment. They gave it a practical meaning. Now, it is the law of the land.

The basic problem with those who wish to overturn Roe is their failure to understand and accept that Americans live in a pluralistic free and democratic society, where there is no official state religion, and where individuals are guaranteed liberty.

The Republicans want the U.S. government to suppress liberty. They want to dictate religious values. They want their religious point of view force-fed to all agnostics, atheists, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and fellow Christians, who accept abortion.

The Florida Republicans prefer the model of government used by the Taliban, Iran and Pakistan, whose governments merge religion and law into one, and prohibit religious freedom. In this sense, the Florida Republicans are as bad as the fundamentalist Islamists.

When will the anti-abortionists abort the abortion issue? Hopefully someday, they will understand the guarantees of religious freedom, and liberty, mean all of us have a right to live side-by-side, and none of us is allowed to dictate our religious views regarding the meaning of life onto the rest of society.