There is nothing inherently bad or evil about democratic capitalism. However, in the absence of appropriate constraints or regulations, the elements of greed and avarice in human behavior will abuse the system every time.
Ronald Reagan railed and ranted about getting government off our back and claimed that government was the problem that restrained free enterprise. So - the Republicans finally got their way with deregulation and the predictable greed and avarice corrupted the economic processes so profoundly that we are now coping with an economic meltdown. Getting what the Republicans asked for has proven to be hazardous to our economic health.
The call for change and reform by Barack Obama has resonated so well with the American electorate that conservative John McCain and the Republicans are trying to co-opt the idea of change and reform. Change and reform has always come from liberals - never from conservatives. Historically, conservatives have fought every reform initiative ever advanced by liberals.
Conservatives love to wallow in their status quo, and their smug certitude. Opposing the necessary progressive reforms of Democrats has been their stock in trade for all of our history. Innovation, exploration, experimentation and reforms are behaviors of liberals - not conservatives.
Expecting to get necessary changes and reforms from conservatives like John McCain is expecting what never was, and never will be.
Doty voted against my values
I'm not going to throw out personal attacks like Rep. Al Doty and his supporters do; I'll stick to the issues.
Rep. Doty claims to represent the people of Morrison and Crow Wing counties. But does he represent your values? He has all too often voted with the metro leadership on vital issues reflecting our values. Let me enlighten you:
Fact. Doty voted against the following amendments.
Rule 85 requiring a 60 percent majority to raise taxes, HFA-3201 property tax assessment freeze for seniors, HFA-3149 eliminating state income taxes on social security income, HFA-2171 providing married couples priority in adoption placements, SFA-1789 tuition freeze at state colleges and universities for two years, SFA-2171 requiring parental consent before dispensing oral contraceptives to minors, HFA-6 requiring parental consent to test our children's beliefs, and he even voted against HFA-06 eliminating the Comprehensive Sex Education Mandate which requires all schools to teach contraception to students aged 12-17.
Doty has voted against values that I believe represent the best interests of our kids, our seniors, and our working families. We need a legislator that will represent us, not the metro leadership.
Mike LeMieur understands that families are being squeezed by tough economic times, job losses, and higher prices for food and gas. That's why Mike supports holding the line on tax increases It's time for state government to live within its means - just like families and small businesses in central Minnesota do every day.
Religious release time
Letters have appeared in this space, both for and against Wednesday afternoon religious release.
I could not agree more that our children's spiritual growth is every bit as important as their educational experience.
I appreciated my sons attending in the afternoon when they were smaller; it's just too late on a school night to be coming home at 9 p.m. when of elementary age. At the same time I can't help but feel Wednesday afternoons are not the best solution. Whether or not this time is planned into the minimum school year requirements, it is disruptive to end the school day early. Ideally, those students who are struggling and remain behind would receive additional instruction. Does this happen? Probably not. The remainder of the afternoon basically is daycare.
Why can't religious instruction be held on Sunday, either before or after services? The children could attend church with their parents, together, as a family, and then the parents could share coffee and fellowship while their children are in class. This would reinforce the ideas of Sunday being devoted to God and that faith should be shared and experienced as a family.
Religious education should be a commitment from both the child and the parent!
From a practical standpoint, kids have homework, activities, etc. Week nights are crazy. A dinner together is something to be treasured. It's no fun trying to squeeze in homework, even for the older ones, after 9 p.m. at night.
A plus would be that parents who want to teach but work during the week will have the opportunity to volunteer their time.
Zero tolerance for hate
If you were unfortunate enough to not see The Laramie Project at CLC this weekend, you missed one of their finest productions.
Congratulations to all and thanks to CLC and the Brainerd Human Rights Commission for making the production possible. My daughter was here from Chicago and we were proud to show her the quality and humanity of our local culture. The play offered a timely reminder of how bigotry and dehumanizing talk can so easily lead to uncontrolled and unspeakable violent acts. And I have become even more nervous about the toleration and encouragement of hate talk in the McCain Palin campaign. Watch on the internet as supporters grin and giggle at a compatriot carrying a stuffed monkey with an Obama hat on into a Pennsylvania Palin rally.
A fine real life demonstration of the banality of evil.
It is well past time for McCain to declare a zero tolerance policy for such dangerous hate mongering.
Do we need a president?
Hey! How you feeling? I see a lot of people out there complaining about a sore throat, runny nose, runny eyes, aching muscles and upset stomach. No it is not a summer cold or the flu or any other virus. You just have the same thing that Craig Ferguson has: election fever! That's right. It's caused from negative campaign advertising both on TV and in these open forums. It's enough to make you sick! If every one believed our country is in as bad a shape as the candidates say it is, there would be a lot more people going "sideways."
The only cure is to get out and vote on Nov. 4. If you want to vote for change, it's simple. Just vote against all incumbents. I know there is not an incumbent for president. Simple! Let's try it four years without one. Either way, you will feel better on Nov. 5.
Have a nice day, and God Bless the U. S. A.
P.S. Why is it that a pro athlete cannot get through a sentence without saying "ya know:"?
Jim Falconer Sr.
No conflict for LeMieur
I wish to respond to the writer who attacked Mike LeMieur, president of Little Falls City Council, for voting to grant a waiver for a building permit for Mary of Lourdes School. The writer's letter was in the Sept. 14 Brainerd Dispatch.
The letter writer is a DFL activist , a former county DFL official, and has publicly campaigned for DFL State Rep. Al Doty.
In his letter, the writer falsely accuses LeMieur of "a conflict of interest" and states the council's 6-1 decision may have been "illegal or unconstitutional." The writer makes this claim because LeMieur is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
I take very strong issue against the illogical reasoning of the writer on this issue. To begin, let me also state for the record that Mike LeMieur, a candidate for state representative, happens to be my nephew, the son of my sister, Beverly LeMieur.
However, having represented Morrison and Crow Wing counties for over 29 years in the Legislature, I will state that no conflict of interest exists in this situation. A conflict of interest exists when an elected official votes on an issue that materially benefits the official, directly or indirectly. This vote does not violate this rule. LeMieur also made it publicly clear when the issue was decided that the waiver fee policy applied to all schools in the city, public and non-public alike. LeMieur's action also was effectively reaffirmed by council member Kate Davis in an excellent statement she made in the Aug. 31 Morrison County Record in response to a similar accusation from the same writer.
For the writer to state that LeMieur should not have represented his constituents on this issue where no conflict exists borders on the ridiculous. The writer's bias against non-public schools is evident here.
Maintenance is necessary
As I was out driving the other day it was raining and I was observing all the standing water in the ruts and all the cracks in the county road that I was driving on. That water getting through and under the asphalt will cause major damage over winter and the few dollars saved this year will be multiplied greatly by those that will be needed in the future to rebuild roads that were not maintained properly cracks filled and sealcoated when they needed it. The public's safety is affected when you have ruts with two or three inches of water in them they can cause a loss of control and accidents depending on the traffic at the time could cause head-on collisions or maybe a rollover into a water-filled ditch. Some years in the spring we have water in the ditches. I live here year-round and remember when it was common to have water in the ditches. seems like just a short while ago, but then I'm old. I wonder what other infrastructure is being neglected that isn't so visible. People are being let go who know what needs attention.The old Crow Wing County Courthouse heating system was kept going for several decades after it was obsolete. How much knowledge is going and if county employees aren't replaced who will do the work or will those new buildings be let to deteriorate and cost a lot to refurbish or replace? Maintenance is necessary and when neglected the costs are multiplied. We the taxpayers will pay for it sooner or later but the size of the bill for later will be multiplied many times. Either taxes or fees are necessary to pay and foolish savings are costly.
JESSE NIX is secretary of the Crow Wing County DFL.
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