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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Friday, February 29, 2008

Understanding and Dismantling Racism: An Introductory Orientation and Facilitation Workshop to Anti-Racism Organizing

This quote is from an ad for a teaching workshop at a local educational institution.
Sometimes you just can't make this stuff up.

"The overarching purpose of this workshop is twofold: (1) to explore a functional definition of racism and related systemic dynamics and (2) to examine practical implications of the definition for institutions, communities and individuals. Participants will gain or further enhance their capacity to understand racism as a systemic issue that is woven into the fabric of American life. The workshop will examine the dynamics of systemic power and race: the quantifiable social disparities separating communities of color and privileged society; the racial advantages promulgated by systems, institutions, and the socializing dynamics that racialize individuals.

The workshop will suggest that changing individual behavior is not enough. If we are to overcome the systemic processes that embed racial values in institutional life, then institutions must change. Fundamental to this workshop is the assumption that virtually all American institutions are on a journey of becoming multicultural and deconstructing systemic racism. "

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Extremism in the Defense of Tyranny is a Vice

Should it be legal to end the life of a baby after that baby has been born?

This question would not make for a very long debate on the floor of the Antient and Honourable John Adams Society. In fact this question did not lead to much debate in the Congress. H.R. 2175, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, passed the Senate by
Unanimous Consent and passed the House on a voice vote. President Bush signed this bill into law in August 2002.

But the junior Senator from Illinois opposed a Born Alive Infant Protection Act while he served as a committee chairman in the Illinois State Senate. As Rick Santorum writes today in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"Who would oppose a bill that said you couldn't kill a baby who was born? Not Kennedy, Boxer or Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not even the hard-core National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Obama, however, is another story. The year after the Born Alive Infants Protection Act became federal law in 2002, identical language was considered in a committee of the Illinois Senate. It was defeated with the committee's chairman, Obama, leading the opposition.

Let's be clear about what Obama did, once in 2003 and twice before that. He effectively voted for infanticide. He voted to allow doctors to deny medically appropriate treatment or, worse yet, actively kill a completely delivered living baby. Infanticide - I wonder if he'll add this to the list of changes in his next victory speech and if the crowd will roar: "Yes, we can."

How could someone possibly justify such a vote? In March 2001, Obama was the sole speaker in opposition to the bill on the floor of the Illinois Senate. He said: "We're saying they are persons entitled to the kinds of protections provided to a child, a 9-month child delivered to term. I mean, it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal-protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child." So according to Obama, "they," babies who survive abortions or any other preterm newborns, should be permitted to be killed because giving legal protection to preterm newborns would have the effect of banning all abortions.

Justifying the killing of newborn babies is deeply troubling, but just as striking is his rigid adherence to doctrinaire liberalism. Apparently, the "audacity of hope" is limited only to those babies born at full term and beyond. Worse, given his support for late-term partial-birth abortions that supporters argued were necessary to end the life of genetically imperfect children, it may be more accurate to say the audacity of hope applies only to those babies born healthy at full term."

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

What about the case for federalism? Do we enact all murder statutes at the federal level now?

I read the post super quickly, so I probably missed it, but what is the case for this particular murder statute to be federal law?

(And y'all know I'm prolife. You can't have liberty without life.)

11:15 AM, March 12, 2008  
Blogger Jameson said...

Obama lead the opposition to the state born-alive in the Illinois State Senate. There are no federalism questions about this state law.

12:30 AM, March 14, 2008  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Your first paragraph referenced federal law. I'm astonished there wasn't a Constitutional debate on the matter.

8:40 AM, March 14, 2008  

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Neopopulism's First Critic

Neopopulism already has its critics. See http://greatdivide.typepad.com for "Revenge of the Nerds."

My sense is that neopopulism will have two types of elitist critics: ideological and partisan. Ideologues will criticize neopopulism for not being ideological at all or will attribute an ideology that isn't there. Similarly, partisans will criticize neopopulism for not being partisan at all or will attribut a partisanship that isn't there.

Interestingly, neopopulism will only be useful for people who are not ideologues nor partisans. Neopopulist rhetoric won't work for them. They will be frustrated.

However, it is also important that neopopulists self-regulate -- ridding themselves of all forms of elitism, ideology and partisanship. It is the only way to assure ourselves of our own neopopulism.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Good News About Obama's Missed Opportunity

It appears that the junior Senator from Illinois has missed out on the opportunity to meet with a "world leader" face to face without any pre-conditions. There will be no meeting between Imad Mugniyah and a President Obama because thanks to a well-placed and timed bomb Imad Mugniyah is as the French say, "Mort."

The Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, called the death of this most wanted terrorist the "martyrdom of one of the most senior commanders in the Lebanese Islamic Resistance, martyr Imad Mugniyah." It is up to the American people whether we want a President Obama to follow the historical example of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mottaki and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the hopes of proclaiming "Peace in Our Time."

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Neopopulism.org Birthday on February 11, 2008

Birth of Neopopulism: We are Civil Disobedience

It is Neopopulism’s birth-day today – February 11, 2008. Recall the dictionary definition of birth: it is the process at the end of a human pregnancy that results in a baby being born. It represents an end of a 10 month long pregnancy and the beginning of life. Similarly, Tom Dahlberg and I have privately labored on Neopopulism for about 10 years and now we are proud today to announce the birth-day of Neopopulism.

To begin, we should tell you what Neopopulism is not. Neopopulism is not a political party. Our birth-day is not similar to the Independence Party founding in Minnesota in 1992 or the Republican Party’s founding in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.

Neopopulism is not an ideological movement. Our birth-day is not similar to the launch of the modern conservative and liberal movements in the 1960’s. In fact, Neopopulism’s essence is a rejection of partisanship and ideology.

Like the students screaming in the movie “We are Marshall,” the Neopopulist rally cry is, “We are Civil Disobedience.” Neopopulism’s civil disobedience is in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau’s imprisonment in 1846 and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s imprisonment in 1963. Like Thoreau and King, Neopopulists -- in the face of the government’s absence of the rule of law – will rebel even at the risk of imprisonment.

Thoreau and King did not merely play the role of rabble rousers – they redeemed a lawless government. Thus, Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” serve as the modern Gospels for Neopopulists.

Neopopulists are pragmatic realists who will impose the rule of law on government. The enemies of Neopopulism are mediocre and mendacious bureaucrats – often called experts.

Neopopulists are upset when publicly-available evidence of bureaucratic mediocrity and mendacity is available and the bureaucrats keep their jobs. Think of bridges collapsing, space shuttles exploding, tigers jumping out of zoo cages.

The federal and state constitutions offer no protection for the people from mediocre and mendacious bureaucracies. For example, Minnesota’s Constitution was written to principally protect the minority from the majority. Minnesota’s Constitution was never intended as a response to today’s greater threat – protecting the people from the bureaucrats.

Neopopulists admit, along with British philosopher John Stuart Mill, that bureaucracies are necessary for a “skilled” democracy. Yet, the problem with bureaucracies is that by their very nature, they tend toward rules, routine and therefore mediocrity. As Mill stated in his Representative Government (1861), bureaucracies “perish by the immutability of their maxims; and still more, by the universal law that whatever becomes routine loses its vital principle, and having no longer a mind acting within it, goes on revolving mechanically though the work it is intended to do remains undone.” Mill’s passage describes with precision the current mediocrity and mendacity of our modern bureaucrats. Just review the publicly-available evidence.

Our opponents – the partisans and ideologues -- will say but which of their rules of law applies? But, for Neopopulists, it is the people’s rule of law that applies. Unlike partisanship which is owned by the DFL and GOP parties and unlike ideology which is owned by the liberal and conservative elites, Neopopulism is owned by the people.

Further, our opponents will say there is no Minnesota conspiracy to violate the rule of law. Neopopulists agree – but if there is a conspiracy, it is a conspiracy of mediocrity. A conspiracy of mediocrity based on the bureaucrats’ unwillingness to do more than do their job – to be excellent.

Even further, our opponents will say there is no absence of rule of law in Minnesota. That’s false. In recent memory, as documented at the Neopopulism.org website, in over twenty published court decisions, every branch of Minnesota’s government has recently violated the rule of law: Minnesota’s Supreme Court, Minnesota’s executive branch agencies, now Minnesota’s legislature and, of course, county and local governments.

As Karl Llewellyn, a great University of Chicago law teacher, once said, morals without technique is a mess while technique without morals is a menace. Don’t tell the people that the Minnesota government isn’t at the same time a mess and a menace -- it is.

What else could explain the hundreds, nay thousands, of pages of self-contradictory, vague and/or ambiguous statutes, rules and ordinances on the books? Even fishermen now contend with pages and pages of Department of Natural Resources fishing rules. Aren’t these statutes, rules and ordinances in themselves an abuse of power?

Bureaucrats, beware, it is the people who suffer due to your mediocrity, your mendacity, your meanness.

Neopopulists say that the people’s only response is rebellion. Civil disobedience – using all means of available political participation to impose the rule of law on the people’s government -- is the rally cry for the people.

Finally, as Neopopulists with the will to impose a political agenda, we admit to an internal disposition of hope. We are optimistic. Due to this hope, we have faith that we can make a difference – even though the situation, without us, would be rather hopeless.

Erick G. Kaardal
General Counsel for Neopopulism.org
495 Ridgeview Circle
Hamel MN 55340

Blogger Ex Nihilo said...

Bravo! Maybe the logo for Neopopulism should be a pitchfork.

11:54 PM, February 09, 2008  

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Dahlberg and Kaardal Published in Strib

Tom Dahlberg and Erick Kaardal: Elitist 'judicial reform' would rob people of their rights

Freedom of speech and judicial elections, when combined, will erode an overreaching bureaucracy.


The Star Tribune, in its Feb. 4 editorial on judicial elections, supports the elitist ambitions of former Gov. Al Quie to take us backwards into the authoritarian appointment of judges by the elite bureaucratic class. This clearly demonstrates that the Strib editorial board, like Quie and his bevy of self-proclaimed experts, has no sense of history.

Look at how pretentious and passé the implicit and explicit arguments are for having the elites appoint our judges rather than letting the people choose.

We live in the "post-modern" era. The old-school appeal to the notion that legal judgments can be, even in principle, perspective and value neutral, should either cause us to pat Mr. Quie on the head and smile for his innocence or arrest him for truly criminal naiveté. In the latter case, an elected people's judge would send him home, recognizing that a law persecuting precious naiveté deserves to be nullified. An appointed judge would let him off because he's a crony. As neopopulists, we prefer the former.

The ugly truth about this campaign to let the elites appoint our judges is that it is an ideological will to power, invoking, inauthentically, the myths of objectivity, expertise and the greatest good, all of which the "best and the brightest" believe they have a corner on whenever it's of rhetorical use. That is, the elites are perfectly willing to exploit these absolutist myths about objective judgment when that suits their agenda, and post-modern relativism when that suits their agenda.

The people make no ideological bones about it. They, quite rightly, just want the power. When judges make decisions that transfer more and more power to the government, the people are going to throw them out. The simple truth about freedom of speech for judicial candidates, established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Republican Party of Minnesota vs. White case (when our state Supreme Court refused to do so) and the right of the people to elect judges, is that it is deliciously dangerous to overbearing government, directly linking the judicial branch to the people, rather than the executive branch.

As an extension of the executive branch, by appointment, the judiciary is much more likely to serve the bureaucracy than the people. The elites who would appoint our judges know in their bones that freedom of speech and judicial elections, when combined, will produce a populist acid strong enough to erode an overreaching modern bureaucracy.

Pathetically, the only weapons they can bring to bear on this ineluctable, populist trend, are the old saws about their wisdom, their objectivity, their expertise. But this rhetoric will no longer hide their will to power. The elite hypocritically tell us that there is no moral authority to impose on our public schools and then base our system of selecting judges on their moral authority.
Quie and the Strib will no doubt cry that this populist rejection of their noble intentions was rough and nasty. But, of course, nothing is prima facie nastier than their elitism or rougher than stripping the people of their franchise. Anyone who takes himself more seriously than he takes the people has no moral authority with the people. Anyone who loves himself more than he loves the people has no moral authority with the people. When you try to transfer power from the people to yourself and your elite friends, the ugliness is so blatant we must graciously attribute it to stupidity instead of rottenness.

Take any old political hero in Minnesota, Republican or Democrat, and describe to him a wholesale neopopulist rejection of his self-imputed good will, and you will see total disorientation. He has been looking in the mirror at a nice guy for so long that he cannot muster the moral depth to recognize the corruption. After all, he has always, by his lights, been nice to the people, cared for them, looked upon them as his own children. Children should have the very best, very brightest judges, appointed by the very best and very brightest political heroes.

This narcissistic tradition, created by the elite class, prescribing its wisdom, good will, superior knowledge, objectivity and expertise, is passé bunk. Neopopulists don't believe in the best and the brightest or totally objective judges. Neopopulists demand their transcendental right to define justice by the lights of their own moral authority by electing their judges.

Tom Dahlberg, a Shorewood resident, is chairman of the board of Neopopulism.org. Erick Kaardal, a Hamel resident, is general counsel of Neopopulism.org.

You are all invited to Rule of Law day at the State Capitol rotunda at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, February 11, 2008. Please visit the website neopopulism.org for more information.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

What Makes a Conservative?

The whole debate over John McCain reminds me of JAS debate where people argue over who is the true conservative. I remember one member arguing that making people go to church was a more conservative position that letting people choose?

I think it is a great debate, because I think some conservatives have become misguided in what kind of conservatism they are fighting for. For example, supporting tax cuts isn't really a conservative position in itself. The conservative position is smaller government. Thus, one cuts taxes to encourage a reduction in government spending, which leads to smaller government. Therefore, cutting taxes is really only a meaningless gesture without the corresponding reduction in spending.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

RINO! RINO! You a putrid RINO Suckasausus!

If you're not for tax cuts, you're the same as Hillary. If you get nominated, I sure as hell aren't voting for you, because you're all the same.


10:39 PM, February 05, 2008  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

That's "Rhino." Don't you spell?

3:29 PM, February 06, 2008  
Blogger Jameson said...

RINO is the correct term for

Rhino is a truck liner or an animal.

8:10 PM, February 07, 2008  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

jameson, my point exactly. Harsh must be referring to the term Rhino, because RINO, currently describes the Sean Hannitys. Afterall, since McCain is getting the majority of republicans to vote for him in the primaries, then its the Sean Hannitys who are the RINOs and not McCain.

I am just making a technical point of course....

11:23 AM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Plurality, perhaps, but he may well fall short of a majority.

A majority would indeed change the meaning of Republicanism to an anti-Constitution, big government party. Then I'll have to decide if I want to be a RINO or not.

3:00 PM, February 14, 2008  

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Friday, February 01, 2008

The Best Argument I've Seen against McCain

Senator McCain's voting record in the 107th Senate (2001-2002) was the 6th most liberal voting record of any Republican Senator. This is well to the left of McCain's historical voting record in the House from 1983 to 1987 and in the Senate from 1987 to 2000.

Source: http://voteview.ucsd.edu/SEN107.htm

It is understandable that many conservative do not want the 2001-2002 version of McCain or the 2001-2002 version of Romney. The question is if elected, from 2009-2013 will we get the McCain with the respectable conservative voting record of 1983-2000 and 2003-2008 or will we get the 2001-2002 McCain?

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The question is what do you use to judge a person. Should you use the totality of a lifetime. Should you attempt to compute trends in a person. Can you cherry pick recent years. You can come up with a different conservative ranking for John McCain depending on what you pick.

One example that comes to mind is the conservatism of our Senior Sometime Chairman. Because of his lean towards populism in recent years, should I assume now that he is no longer a conservative but a pure populist?

9:04 AM, February 05, 2008  

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