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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Captain Fishsticks In Foul Mood

Craig Westover broke the Dean Johnson story - and the story got lots of legs. He's quite irritable today. He's not happy with how St Paul Pioneer Press letter writers reacted to the Dean Johnson nonsense.

Posted on Thu, Mar. 23, 2006
What's the definition of lying? Did Sen. Dean Johnson lie? Webster's dictionary defines lying as making a false statement knowingly. If it sounds like a duck and walks like a duck —- it's probably a duck. Maybe we ought to change the definition of lying (or maybe we already have).

Secret taping was slimy
State Republicans infiltrate a private nonpolitical get-together of Sen. Dean Johnson's fellow ministers and secretly (and illegally) tape it so that they can use cleverly edited parts of it in their anti-gay marriage campaign ads. (According to 626A.02 of the Minnesota State Code, only if the question-asker was the taper could this be legal, and even if it's legal, it's still slimy.)

These same state Republicans last month were caught in the act of sending out anti-gay CDs with spyware on them to unsuspecting Minnesotans What's next? Am I going to wake tomorrow to find state Republican Party Chair Ron Carey sniffing through my sock drawer?

St. Paul
Taping wasn't 'Minnesota Nice'
The Minnesota media have missed the boat on the Johnson/secret recordings story. The real story isn't what Johnson said, but that the partisan opponent who secretly recorded Johnson broke Minnesota law. State code 626A.02 forbids the recording of a conversation by a third party unless one of the people in the conversation knows about the recording. From what's been reported so far, Johnson addressed a group
of pastors while another pastor— not part of their conversation— set out to catch him on tape. That's not Minnesotan; it's not fair and it appears to violate state law. Then again, when Republicans in Washington endorse secret surveillance not authorized by any court, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that Minnesota Republicans do the same thing.

St. Paul

No regrets for intolerance

So Brent Waldemarsen, the senior pastor at Harvest Community Church of God in Willmar, has no regrets about secretly taping Johnson so his comments could be used against him in a battle pitting Christian fundamentalists against homosexual rights. I am sure that Fred Phelps, senior pastor at the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., feels the same lack of regret for picketing soldiers' funerals.

Both men feel that their religion calls them to defend our nation against homosexuals. Both men seem to have trouble distinguishing between what they have a right to do and what is right to do. Amazing what religious intolerance can create, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kansas or here in Minnesota.
St. Paul

Is DFL caucus vote a joke?
I watched the news with laughter when DFL Sen. Ann Rest stated that the full DFL caucus voted to support the tactics of Johnson. What did
she expect?

It has long been the policy of DFL leadership to demonize its members by holding votes by a public show of hands. Did she actually think that anyone in her party would publicly vote against Johnson's actions in a show of hands? We could only imagine how the vote would turn out if a secret ballot had been used. That way the DFL senators could actually vote their own conscience without being intimidated by the rest of their party.

This is a practice that is used in DFL-controlled unions throughout the state to get the media to print false and misleading results. This tactic only proves to the citizens of this great state of the methods the DFL uses to influence the media and get their point falsely published.

St. Paul

Not his kind of Christianity

So Sen. Dean Johnson embellished the truth a little. If that were a crime, the White House and the halls of Congress would be empty, as well as many buildings on Madison Avenue. What worries me more is the pastor who, with partisan political paranoia, secretly taped Johnson's remarks and then peddled them to politicos and the press. I don't know what type of Christianity that pastor is pushing, but I wouldn't want any of it!

A Minnesota Judas

The Bible tells about Judas, a man who befriends Jesus and then betrays him by turning him over to the enemy. Pastor Brent Waldemarsen is a present-day Judas.

Under the guise of friendship, he "befriends" a fellow man-of-the-cloth so he can be invited to a pastors' meeting Johnson is attending. Next, he furtively tape-records Johnson's indefensible divergence from truth. He then betrays his fellow clergymen by turning the tape over for public exposure so as to damage Johnson's reputation.

Unrepentant of his actions, Waldemarsen is nonetheless fearful of protesters at his Sunday service and requests extra police. How will he respond on Judgment Day when answering to God about this despicable act?

We need clergy to be trustworthy, ethical leaders. This is not the case with either Waldemarsen or Johnson.

'Activist judges' talk is a lie

Dean Johnson made an error and has apologized. I would like to hear a similar apology from all politicians and their supporters who talk of "activist judges" over and over again.

The idea that there are activist judges clearly intends to create the perception that some judges can't be trusted to do their jobs, which is to interpret and enforce the constitution. To suggest that our constitution must be changed to protect our citizens from judges who can't be trusted is fiction presented as truth — a lie. It is an attack on the integrity of the court.

If there are activist judges on Minnesota's courts, let's name them and vote them out of office instead of amending the constitution. They aren't being named because their existence is a lie designed to reduce trust in the courts so that our citizens feel compelled to support a marriage amendment. Shame on anyone who uses these words.
St. Paul

Westover pointed out some excellent columns in the Pioneer Press. He was irritated with the columns - I thought the columns he mentioned were quite well written. Former Pioneer Press community columnist Eric Schubert's piece is Craig's 4th reason for heartburn. Money quote:

Feedback from real life. Whether you live in Eagan or Embarrass, how
often have you had lunch with colleagues or chatted with a neighbor and heard the question, "What are we going to do to keep Ole from marrying Sven or Lena from marrying Greta?" I venture not often. I recently attended the annual Minnesota Chamber of Commerce dinner with 2,000 other business people from across the state. These are folks who go to work every day to keep families fed and Minnesota growing. Talk there was focused on making health care more affordable, figuring out long-term solutions for transportation funding, making government as efficient as possible, and cleaning up polluted waters.

No breakout sessions were held on keeping men from marrying men and women from marrying women. Unlike the 1,000 people who showed up this week at the Capitol scared
of who loves whom, most of our state's nearly 3.7 million adults are concerned with much weightier issues, such as classroom sizes, commute times, health care costs, stable employment, retirement benefits, clean water and ducks in the sky. We want Minnesota to work.

It's a strategic mistake for national consultants and the religious righteous to apply a gay marriage cookie-cutter to Minnesota. Yes, I'm sure they see fertile ground here where many of us are stoic and have small-town values. But those who rely on the Gospel according to Rove and see us as simply a target on a red or blue map should remember another Texan's northern exposure. When Red McCombs descended upon
Minnesota, he thought he could get a new stadium by bellowing "purple pride" with all the sincerity of Eddie Haskell. Then he threatened to take our team elsewhere. We may be stoic, but a lot of us think for ourselves and don't like to be backed into a corner. McCombs no longer works here.

Read the whole thing.