Recent Posts

trump15Incompetent. Cowardly and secretive. All that stuff.

The Trump administration has either failed to complete or is keeping from the public more than half of the reports that President Donald Trump assigned to the administration through his early and prolific use of the executive order. Of the reports it did complete, many were turned in well past the assigned due date and only “complete” in the sense that they consist of words on paper.
In his first year in office, Trump ordered 95 separate reports, performance reviews, instructions, or other activities to be carried out by executive branch agencies. The Intercept has been reviewing these orders for the last year. We found that 48 of the 95 actions were completed, in many cases after the due date stipulated in the order. Federal agencies have yet to complete another 20. In 27 cases, the agency was unresponsive to our requests for information.
(David Dayen/The Intercept)


30 minutes with Paul Thissen

by JeffStrate on January 18, 2018 · 0 comments

Minnesota legislator Paul Thissen hopes to win the DFL Party endorsement for his 2018 bid for Governor.  Rep. Thissen, a progressive Minneapolis Democrat, and host Tim O’Brien discussed the up-coming legislative session and campaign season on December 29, 2017 at our studio in Bloomington.  The former House Speaker and DFL elder provide an engaging and informed take on what’s ahead.


Democratic Visions is handcrafted by southwest suburban, lefty volunteers.  We specialize in one-on-one conversations and occasionally conjure up satire and commentary.


Democratic Visions is looking for female commentators and interviewers to become part of Minnesota’s most appealing political issues program.   For more information, contact me, Jeff Strate, via Facebook.


Big red-to-blue flip in Wisconsin

by Dan Burns on January 17, 2018 · 0 comments

Minnesota has two elections for state legislative seats set for Feb. 12. I’ll be blogging more about those.

Democrats have just pulled off the first election upset of 2018. In northwestern Wisconsin’s Senate District 10, Democrat Patty Schachtner defeated Republican Adam Jarchow 55-45 percent to flip a seat the GOP has held since 2000. Tuesday’s shocking upset arguably puts the Wisconsin Senate majority in play this fall (which is now 18 Republicans to 14 Democrats, with one vacancy).
This supposedly safe Republican seat became open when GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf accepted an appointment to Scott Walker’s cabinet late last year. Despite the fact that SD-10 went 55-38 for Trump in 2016 and 52-46 for Romney in 2012, Democrats were cautiously optimistic about their chances here.
(Daily Kos)


sulfideHere’s more background about sulfide mining proposals in Minnesota. Those in the state who won’t let the horrific Twin Metals proposal die an easy death may mean well by their own lights, but are in fact exercising extremely poor judgment.

Trump’s Interior Department is reinstating two 1966 leases, written before today’s federal environmental laws, that could allow a Chilean mining company to build a giant copper-and-nickel mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters wilderness area in northern Minnesota.
The mining company is controlled by Andrónico Luksic, whose family controls a mining, banking and industrial empire that Forbes estimates is valued at $13.1 billion. Luksic also dabbles in Washington, D.C., residential real estate and has a business relationship with the Trump family. He is First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s and First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s landlord…
Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of Antofagasta PLC, sued in federal court over the leases for 4,800 acres on the southwest border of the Boundary Waters even before the Obama administration decided in December 2016 against renewing them.


trump19This article is quite comprehensive.

More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s US condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.
Records show that more than 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and that the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders.
Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016. Treasury’s financial-crimes unit has, in recent years, launched investigations around the country into all-cash shell-company real-estate purchases amid concerns that some such sales may involve money laundering. The agency is considering requiring real-estate professionals to adopt anti-money-laundering programs.
All-cash purchases by shell companies do not by themselves indicate illegal or improper activity, and they have become more common in recent years in both Trump buildings and other luxury home sales across the United States. Developers such as Trump have no obligation to scrutinize their purchasers or their funding sources.
But federal investigations “continue to reveal corrupt politicians, drug traffickers and other criminals using shell companies to purchase luxury real estate with cash,” Treasury’s former financial-crimes chief Jennifer Shasky Calvery said at a Capitol Hill hearing in 2016.


trump10I’m not letting myself actually get optimistic, yet. From my own perspective (which should never be regarded as a source of anything like claims to complete, final, and absolute truth), my #1 lesson from 2016 is that the overall socio-political intelligence in this country is less than I had fondly believed it to be. But certainly the signs going forward could be a lot worse.

The SurveyMonkey results put Trump’s total approval rating for 2017 at 42 percent, with 56 percent disapproving. That’s slightly higher than, but within range of, other major public surveys.
In the 2016 election, exit polls found that Trump’s best group was whites without a four-year college degree; he carried 66 percent of them. But his approval among them in the 2017 SurveyMonkey average slipped to 56 percent. In 2016, whites with at least a four-year college degree gave Trump 48 percent of their votes. But in the 2017 average, just 40 percent approved of Trump’s performance, while a resounding 60 percent disapproved.
Layering in gender and age underscores voters’ retreat. Trump in 2016 narrowly won younger whites. But he now faces crushing disapproval ratings ranging from 62 percent to 76 percent among three big groups of white Millennials: women with and without a college degree, and men with a degree. Even among white Millennial men without a degree, his most natural supporters, Trump only scores a 49-49 split.
(The Atlantic)

OK, if you want to get with an additional, kind of upbeat perspective (from Mother Jones), here you are. But I can’t help but go back to how confident I was of an historic blue wave when it became clear that Trump really would be the GOP presidential candidate.


trump12The “Dotard-in-Chief.”

Yes, this really happened. Donald Trump proudly stood up and bragged that he had delivered, to Norway, a made-up military jet from a video game.
…the problem is that he can’t read. The man who spent quality time bashing the last president for teleprompter-reading cannot read numbers off a page. He meant to say the Norway government was receiving the first F-35 jets, the controversial aircraft designed to do All The Things that has received harsh criticism for its ballooning and enormous price tag, but there were two damn numbers in the same paragraph and it caused Donald to lose the plot.
(Daily Kos)


graphic with Adam Jennings and Jon Spayde
Democrat Adam Jennings is one of three candidates hoping to
earn the DFL Congressional District 3 Party endorsement to challenge
Republican incumbent Eric Paulsen in the November general election.
Jennings, a member of the Tonka Bay City Council and a Minnesota Army
National Guard veteran who served in Kosovo, lays out his plans to
represent the suburban congressional district which includes Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, most of Edina, Champlin, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park and other cities.
Jennings on YouTube here.
The new edition also features improv humorist/actor Jon Spayde as Prescott Beauregard, a Southern gentleman with thoughts on the removal of Confederate flags and statues, as well a number of southern politicians.
Jon Spayde’s Prescott Beauregard on YouTube here.
Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through Southwest Community Television at the BCAT studio in the Bloomington Civic Plaza.


The Democratic Visions Channel on YouTube archives more than 300 videos here.

Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through Southwest Community Television.

Eden Prairie, M’tonka, Hopkins, Richfield and Edina, Comcast CH 15 and Centurylink CH 8111 – Saturdays @ 2pm, Sundays @ 9pm, Mondays @ 10pm, Wednesdays @ 5:30 pm.

Champlin, Anoka, Andover & Ramsey Mondays on QCTV –  Mondays @ 10:30 am, Wednesdays @ 10:30 am, Thursdays @ 1pm, Fridays @ 1pm, Saturdays @ 10:30 am.

Bloomington, BCAT CH 16 and CenturyLink 8216 – Tuesdays @ 2:00pm  & 10pm, Fridays @ 9:30 pm, Saturdays @ 7:30 am & 2:30 pm.

MInneapolis, MTN CH 16 – Sundays @ 8:30 pm, Mondays @ 3:30 am, 9:30 am & 2:30 pm

St. Paul, SPNN CH 15 – Thursdays @ 9pm, Fridays @ 4:00am & 2pm.



Most farmers are not being helped by Trump

by Dan Burns on January 11, 2018 · 0 comments

farmhouseAdd in the likelihood of a farm bill that will be even more geared to (economically and environmentally disastrous) overproduction than the current one, and there is the high potential for a lot of pain in rural America. (Though this careful article makes sure not to really go there.)

But research presented on (Jan. 5) in Philadelphia, at America’s annual mega-gathering of economists, suggests the (tax) bill contains downsides for the industry in general and particularly for lower-income farmers.
A model of the law’s effects on farm households by Siraj G. Bawa and James M. Williamson, of the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service, projects that 70 to 80 percent of the law’s benefits will flow to the top 1 percent of farm households by income.
The law actually shrinks tax refunds for the lowest-earning 20 percent of farm households, Mr. Bawa said in a session hosted by the Agriculture and Applied Economics Association. The reason stems from a combination of changes in the bill, including its elimination of a tax break for domestic production.
“The lowest quintile is actually getting a tax raise under this,” Mr. Bawa said.
(New York Times)


War profiteers are loving Trump

by Dan Burns on January 9, 2018 · 0 comments

woundedAnd since they’ve presumably long since somehow come to terms with what they do, why not?

Arms companies have had a good year.
The top 100 learned in July that their annual revenues amounted to a healthy $364.8 billion, with American companies — as usual — dominating. While the military itself has suffered several calamities — the apparent murder of a Green Beret by two Navy SEALs in Mali in June, the deadly crash of the U.S.S. John McCain near Malaysia in August, the killing of four Special Forces troops in Niger in October, — the contractors have thrived.
The author of The Art of the Deal has helped.
$110 billion from Saudi Arabia, $2.4 billion from austerity-ravaged Greece, $1.4 billion from Taiwan — all these deals have been set in motion by the Trump White House. Even if they’re not completely fulfilled, as can often be the case in such an opaque and unpredictable market, the financial outlook for America’s arms companies will keep making other (less lethal) industries look like mom-and-pop stores.
But the real victory is political. One voice at the top of the Pentagon is, in the long run, far more valuable than a big, new F-35 contract — and this is where President Trump has been so useful to the makers and sellers of weapons.
Well before the Thanksgiving break, the Senate had already confirmed that the new No.2 at the Pentagon will come from the executive council of Boeing; and the new Army undersecretary from the vice presidency of Lockheed Martin‘s F-35 sustainment program.
(Informed Comment)