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greedGee. Never saw this coming.

After initial reluctance, House Republicans have finally reached an agreement to move forward on a bipartisan bank deregulation bill that the Senate passed in March. Its stated aim — to help rural community banks thrive against growing Wall Street power — appears to have been enough to power it across the finish line.
But banking industry analysts say the bill is already having the opposite effect, and its loosening of regulations on medium-sized banks is encouraging a rush of consolidation — all of which ends with an increasing number of community banks being swallowed up and closed down.
“We absolutely expect bank consolidation to accelerate,” Wells Fargo’s Mike Mayo told CNBC the day after the Senate passed the deregulation bill in March. The reason? Banks no longer face the prospect of stricter and more costly regulatory scrutiny as they grow. And regional banks in Virginia, Ohio, Mississippi, and Wisconsin have already taken note before the bill has even passed into law, announcing buyouts of smaller rivals.
(David Dayen/The Intercept)


walz flanagan

“Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.” UCLA Bruins football coach “Red” Sanders (later appropriated by Vince Lombardi)


When I look out at the coming gubernatorial elections, I see disaster unfolding before us like a gigantic black supercell slowly rolling in …


The future looks menacing. Progressives tend to be optimists. We have bright hopes for a better tomorrow. But I think we all need to consider carefully the cost of losing this election.


Obviously, I’m not a believer in Magical Blue Waves. I’m a believer in viable candidates, coordinated action, and the hard work it takes to persuade voters.


In voting to endorse a gubernatorial candidate, delegates to the 2018 DFL State Convention have a special obligation this year to fully consider all of the effects and consequences of their votes, not merely their political preferences. Yes, an endorsing convention is meant to show which candidates can capture party strength. I understand that. But this year we have to consider who is likely to win, who is unlikely to win, and who is likely to lose.


When you consider all of the effects and consequences of endorsing a candidate for governor, or of failing to endorse any candidate, I believe that Tim Walz is the clear choice and should be endorsed as the DFL nominee for governor. Here are six reasons to chew on:


  1. Electability = Walz

The candidate you like may not be the candidate best able to win the general election. Like them to your heart’s content, just don’t vote to endorse them unless you are sure beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she can win. You’ll still be able to like that person after they fail at the polls, the MN-GOP returns Pawlenty to the Governor’s mansion, all of the gains during the last eight years under Governor Dayton are reversed, and Minnesota turns into another Wisconsin.


The only candidate who I’m sure beyond a reasonable doubt can win is Tim Walz. How sure are you about your candidate?


Walz is gregarious and charismatic. Likeability has always been a major factor in elections because voters like to vote for people they like. Are the other candidates for endorsement likeable enough to get elected in the general? Will they capture the hearts and minds of independents and cross-over voters across the state? I’m quite sure Walz can do both. I have serious doubts about the other two candidates. If you have doubts, you need to re-think your support.

More Below the Fold


What next for the Farm Bill?

by Dan Burns on May 22, 2018 · 0 comments

Manure_spreader_Record_2Much as I loathe linking the Washington Examiner, it’s the only source that came up right away just now that had anything directly addressing that question.

Democrats voted in unison against the bill because they opposed increased work requirements for food stamps that were included in the measure. A group of conservatives also voted no, but their opposition had nothing to do with the legislation. They want the House to bring a passable immigration reform bill to the House floor, which is something that has eluded the House GOP for years.
Without support from Democrats and the faction of conservatives, the farm bill is stuck in limbo, at least for now and perhaps until the fall, if the floor schedule gets jammed with spending bills in the coming weeks, as it typically does this time of year.
The current farm bill does not expire until Sept. 30, which gives lawmakers months to find a path to pass the bill.
“What we can do now is take the next days, weeks, month, and really work with moderates to find a solution we can pass,” an aide to a GOP conservative negotiating on immigration told the Washington Examiner.
(Washington Examiner)

A couple of points:
– A big reason that right-wingers are pushing “work requirements” (for non-whites, anyway) for support programs like SNAP is to try to flood the job market with desperate low-wage workers, and therefore undercut any kind of upward pressure on wages overall. This point is rarely made in corporate media.
Here is an interesting piece on the political history of farm bills. It misses, though, that rural, mostly white, heavily right-wing areas are now most dependent on SNAP and other benefits.


Sandy_Hook_Gun_Tragedy_Tim_Walz_NRA_CandidateWhat is the difference between a dozen dead second graders and a dozen dead high school students?
The high school students’ best friends will be able to vote next year.
And no, I will not apologize for the strong words and horrifying imagery. It is time for strong words and horrifying imagery.
I am facing a number of different poltical choices this year. Some of them come in two weeks at the Minnesota DFL (Democratic Party) Convention in Rochester. I’m a delegate, and I will be casting my vote to endorse two US Senate candidates, the State Auditor, the State Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Governor. Recently, I was engaged in the endorsement decision for my US House District, and my local state House Representative is up for election.
Filtering out races that are fait accompli, there are three people running that I am firmly committed to NOT vote for, and to work against in any way possible, because of their contribution to America’s gun-hungry, gun-happy, gun-crazy culture.
They are, in order of geographical zone covered by their potential purview as an elected official:
Tim Walz, currently in the US House representing Minnesota’s first district, now running for the endorsement for Governor of Minnesota; Erik Paulsen, running for re-election to the US House, and Sarah Anderson, running for re-election to the Minnesota House.
I can not vote in early June for Tim Walz’s endorsement because for the last 12 years he maintained an A rating form the NRA, took their money, voted mostly as they told him to vote, and made numerous public statements in support of this gun culture.


enbridgeHere’s some wonderful, uplifting corporate citizenship.

The state of Minnesota has repeatedly overvalued Enbridge Energy’s oil pipeline system, a state Tax Court judge ruled Tuesday, possibly leaving several counties on the hook to pay tens of millions of dollars in tax refunds…
Enbridge’s pipelines traverse 13 northern Minnesota counties, and some of them count on Enbridge for a large portion of their tax base. At least two counties — Clearwater and Red Lake — could end up refunding more money than they raise annually from all of their taxpayers.
(Star Tribune)

Enbridge reported a 2017 pre-tax profit of $10,317 million.
My suggestion, and I’m sure I’m not the only one making it, is that we do all we can to turn this into a PR nightmare for Enbridge. They deserve it.


319484_10150274658633247_1013005_nPlease, please stick to your guns on this.

Gov. Mark Dayton issued an ultimatum Monday as the Legislature’s session entered its final week: Without emergency funding for schools he won’t cut a tax deal. Republicans said they wouldn’t meet his demand…
“My position is that I will not engage in any negotiations on a tax bill or sign any tax bill until we have an agreement to provide emergency school aid,” Dayton said, stressing that his proposal is needed to stop schools from shedding staff or ditching programs.

Update: As of Thursday morning, Governor Dayton is indeed sticking to his guns. Which is a great thing, for all Minnesotans, even if too many haven’t the sense to realize that.
A reality check on Minnesota school funding, and other remarks, below the fold.


lawmakerI’m noting this here because it’s yet another example of what will happen in Minnesota if Republicans win in November, and it’s our turn to race to the bottom.

Michigan isn’t the only state where Republicans are pushing a Medicaid work requirement that’s blatantly racist. Ohio and Kentucky are running the same play, passing a work requirement for Medicaid but exempting mostly white, rural counties. The claim is that the exemptions are for places with high unemployment rates where people simply can’t find work—but cities with high unemployment rates often don’t get the same treatment, because they’re surrounded by (and within county lines of) wealthy suburbs that pull the county’s overall unemployment down. The end effect is that, in what a health law scholar described to TPM as “a version of racial redlining,” work requirements apply to poor black people but not poor white people.
(Daily Kos)

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The Uptake’s Mike McIntee and political and media consultant Jack Rice weigh in on international politics, Iran, Korea, the current president, the Republican Party, Democrats and Minnesota politicians Tina Smith, Richard Painter and Tim Pawlenty.  Their discussion provides smart advisories for former Governor Pawlenty, Senator Smith and Painter, DFLers and GOPers. McIntee (AM950 Radio- weekdays at 4 pm) is arguably the most alert, informed and best interviewer working electronic media; Rice is at the top of his game as an informed, perceptive and articulate analyst. The May edition of Democratic Visions is the first of our high def offerings.


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10153099_10201944684358785_8210271862682794906_nThis is an absolute textbook case of how even mildly progressive governance is far, far better than putting right-wingers in charge. Unfortunately, too many people still don’t base their voting habits on fact and reason, at all. They’re called “conservatives.”

Since the 2010 election of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Governor Mark Dayton in Minnesota, lawmakers in these two neighboring states have enacted vastly different policy agendas. Governor Walker and the Wisconsin state legislature have pursued a highly conservative agenda centered on cutting taxes, shrinking government, and weakening unions. In contrast, Minnesota under Governor Dayton has enacted a slate of progressive priorities: raising the minimum wage, strengthening safety net programs and labor standards, and boosting public investments in infrastructure and education, financed through higher taxes (largely on the wealthy).
Because of the proximity and many similarities of these two states, comparing economic performance in the Badger State (WI) versus the Gopher State (MN) provides a compelling case study for assessing which agenda leads to better outcomes for working people and their families. Now, seven years removed from when each governor took office, there is ample data to assess which state’s economy—and by extension, which set of policies—delivered more for the welfare of its residents. The results could not be more clear: by virtually every available measure, Minnesota’s recovery has outperformed Wisconsin’s.
(Economic Policy Institute)


Manure_spreader_Record_2Three posts down is something titled “A very bad Farm Bill will presumably pass the U.S. House.” Wrong again, maybe, because for the mega-corporations and their propaganda mill buffoons it still ain’t bad enough.

Some of the Republican hardliners in the House are warming up to the farm bill because of the massive cuts it makes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps. Not so fast, say some conservative groups, for whom making people go hungry just isn’t good enough.

“There’s not a whole lot of excitement around this bill,” among GOP conservatives, Dan Holler, vice president of Heritage Action, said last week at a briefing for reporters.
The pile-on began on Tuesday at the briefing by the Heritage Foundation, where the group’s political arm, Heritage Action, formally came out against the bill. On Wednesday the group joined about a dozen other right-leaning, free-market organizations in writing to Congress to denounce the legislation. And on Thursday, two conservative groups linked to the influential Koch brothers — Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners — penned a letter to Congress that said the bill moves the system farther away from free-market principles.
The groups took aim at some of the bill’s SNAP provisions, but their opposition is rooted in the farm policy side of the bill and, specifically, its lack of cutbacks to subsidy programs.

(Daily Kos)

Most people with any sense at all have long known that when right-wingnuts start pontificating about “free-market principles,” they really mean the fatuous, pitiful submission to the rich man and his corporations that they practice themselves. The majority of the populace (though, sadly, not always enough of a majority, yet) has more pride, and sense, than that, once they realize what’s going on.