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30 Minutes with Ken Martin

by JeffStrate on January 13, 2017 · 0 comments

State DFL Chair Ken Martin and Tim O’Brien take measure of the 2016 election and the future of Democrats in Minnesota and the nation on this half hour Democratic Visions special. Martin and DFL Vice Chair Marge Hoffa took office in 2011 and are seeking a third term as DFL Party leads. Martin and Hoffa have a campaign website.

 

As of the publication of this post, only former State DFL Associate Chair Donna Cassutt (2005-2011) is challenging Martin. Cassutt served with state party Chair Brian Melendez who announced his retirement two days after the guberantorial vote recount that confirmed in December 2010 Mark Dayton’s win.   Cassutt has a campaign venue on Facebook.

 

Democratic Visions is an independent community access CableTV and internet program handcrafted by southwest suburban, lefty volunteers. I’m in my ninth year of producing the thing.

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While they like to give lip service to being the party of small government, and moan and groan about government over-reach ad nauseum, the GOP is the worst offender for unwarranted intrusion into the lives of citizens minding their own business.  The right is obsessed with controlling our sexual and gender identity, sexual orientation, and reproductive choices, attempting to variously criminalize those decisions, or to make them for us.  These are things which largely cannot be legislated, as gender and sexuality, and individual body autonomy are intrinsic and inherent parts of each human being.  The GOP, particularly the MN GOP, must get out of our bedrooms, our bathrooms, our locker rooms, and our pants.

 
It should be an accepted premise of government that any legislation that interferes with the free will and action of citizens should serve a demonstrated NEED for such legislation.  In the case of the transgender and bathrooms, there have been more instances of Republican politicians arrested for sexual misconduct in bathrooms than there have been documented incidents, much less arrests or convictions, of transgender persons behaving inappropriately or illegally.  One of those GOP pols, Larry Craig, was arrested right here in Minnesota, at the International Airport.

 

As noted by the Intellectualist:

 

According to Media Matters, there haven’t … been any reports of men ‘pretending’ to be transgender to gain access to women’s spaces and commit crimes against them. You know who have been arrested in public bathrooms for sexual misconduct?Republican politicians.
Without even diving too deep, we found three GOP legislators who were picked up for lavatory indiscretions.
Their names: Larry Craig …, Jon Hinson, and Bob Allen.

We may need laws against GOP politicians using public bathrooms. By contrast, trans people are doing just fine.

It has long been my contention that not only are a number of conned-servatives are controlling, authoritarian hypocrites, but also that many are bigots, (bigotry being defined as “sincerely” believing broadly denigrating and factually false things about a broad group of people in order to in some way demean or discriminate against them). In the case of transgender people, American or otherwise, it is a fact that there have been more Republican members of Congress arrested for illegal sexual conduct in public bathrooms than there have been arrests of transgender people for either sexual assault or sexual harassment, both of which are the justification for transgender bathroom bill legislation.

 

The most recent example of that is HB 41, a bill introduce by three of the most consistently stupid members of the state legislature since the super star of MN lege stupid, Michele Bachmann, moved on to a larger public platform for embarrassment. Her most recent public embarrassment was the lie that President Obama had extorted foreign governments to walk in gay pride parades.  Because you can’t make up stupid, especially dishonest stupid, the way Michele Bachmann can.  Sadly all too often, when the facts are not on the side of conservatives, like Bachmann, like the authors of HB 41, they just make up stuff; worse they come to believe their lies.

From lgbtqnation:

 

Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appeared on the Family Research Council‘s “Washington Watch” radio program late last week to discuss the incoming Trump Administration.
In her appearance, which was captured by RightWingWatch, she denounced the State Department for forcing foreign government ministers to march in gay pride parades. It is unclear what she is referring to.

Financial incentives are withheld from countries unless they advance, for instance, the gay agenda. In a country that doesn’t believe in the gay agenda, the Obama State Department has said, “Look, you have to have a Gay Pride parade. You have to make sure that you can show us that ministers are marching in this Gay Pride parade.” What? The US government is telling another government, “You have to have Gay Pride parades”? That’s unbelievable! “You won’t get your PEPFAR money, you won’t get your USAID money, unless you follow our radical social agenda”?

HB 41 is the latest effort at a bathroom bill, a bill to make life more of a living hell for transgender students.

From OnTop magazine:

 

Three Republican members of the Minnesota House have introduced a bill that targets transgender students.
The Student Physical Privacy Act (HF 41) seeks to “protect and provide for the privacy and safety of all students enrolled in public schools and to maintain order and dignity in restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms, showers, and other facilities where students may be in various states of undress in the presence of other students.”
It defines “sex” to mean “the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.” The bill would designate restrooms, locker rooms, changing rooms and shower rooms for the “exclusive use by students of the male sex only or by the students of the female sex only.”
The bill’s authors are Representatives Duanne Quam of Byron, Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa and Eric Lucero of Dayton.
Introduced on Thursday, the proposed legislation has been referred to the Education Innovation Policy committee.

 

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Reince Priebus on Face the Nation: Failure

by Dog Gone on January 11, 2017 · 0 comments

On Sunday, January 8th, Reince Priebus apppeared on Face the Nation, an interview which included the statement that we have 25 million uninsured people in the United States.  He further posited that this represented a failure of Obamacare to cover every person. He kept calling Obamacare a failure.

 

It is in fact a success, a success that is, or was, growing.

 

I would argue this was a bold faced evil intentioned lie.

 

The reality is that under Republicans prior to the Democratic sweep of the Senate and White House, there was ZERO effort on the part of Republicans to address health care issues, other than to find new ways to enact wealth redistribution to the wealthy, both corporate and individuals, the life and health of average Americans be damned.

 

Number of serious or new replacement ideas from the GOP? ZERO.

 

Number of uninsured Americans the GOP sought to provide health care or insurance coverage? ZERO.

 

THAT is failure. And they are continuing that failure, not learning from it or improving on it.

 

It was not an exaggeration when then-Congressman Alan Grayson back in 2009 referred to the Republican plan for health care, as “Die. Die Quickly.”.

 

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PolyMet gets its land swap

by Dan Burns on January 11, 2017 · 0 comments

sulfideThis was not a surprise, but it still sucks.
 

Paul Danicic, Executive Director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, issued the following statement in response:
 

“The transfer of thousands of acres of Superior National Forest land to PolyMet is a bad deal for taxpayers, premature, and not in the public interest. No exchange of land can undo the damage that PolyMet would do to this area. The land that PolyMet seeks to mine contains thousands of acres of high-value wetlands that are irreplaceable.
 
The standard for federal land exchanges is that the exchange must be in the public interest. PolyMet would create polluted water that would require expensive treatment for hundreds of years. PolyMet would be the largest permitted destruction of wetlands in Minnesota history. The risk to the St. Louis River, Lake Superior, and downstream communities from this mine proposal demonstrates why it is not in the public interest…

(Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness)

Meanwhile, copper and nickel prices remain at long-term lows in a glutted market, and the inevitable Trump recession will only drive them further into the depths.
 

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minneapolis_skyline__heroThere are elections for Minneapolis City Council in November. I’m not going to be blogging much about them yet, but I am passing this along. I think it’s realistic to suggest that more than a handful of voters in the city, to say the least, wanted and expected more “change,” however defined, after the turnover that happened in 2013.
 

But when asked what made them take the leap to run, any remaining nerves transformed into resolve. One by one they opened their eyes and spoke long held truths that became seeds for stump speeches: because representation matters, because racial equity, because of my community.
 
We focused on these seven candidates – Jillia Pessenda, Samantha Pree-Stinson, Phillipe Cunningham, Raeisha Williams, Jeremiah Ellison, Andrea Jenkins and Erica Mauter – because they bring in terms of race, gender identity and sexual orientation, an unprecedented level of diversity to the 2017 elections. Not only do they embody a new potential for Minneapolis politics to be more reflective of its growing populations than ever before, but with platforms heavily focused on social justice, racial and economic equity, they bring a potential to shift the balance of power on the City Council.
(Twin Cities Daily Planet)

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bensonIt should always be kept in mind that right-wing drivel like this is inevitably spewed with one ultimate end in mind: disastrous outsourcing to greedheads. Assuming that we as a society are supposed to actually try to help those who need it, at all. Though not a Christian I can’t help but point out that the Bible certainly says that we should.
 

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michelle Benson delivered a blunt message Friday to nonprofit leaders seeking state funding: Be prepared to prove your worth.
 
“When it comes to accessing public dollars, you will want to work really hard to prove what you’ve already done with the dollars you’ve already been given, whether it’s public dollars or private dollars,” said Benson, R-Ham Lake. “Be ready to deliver accountability.”
 
…“It’s a frightening time right now,” said Shelley Jacobson, CEO of Minnesota Communities Caring for Children/Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota. The nonprofit relies, in part, on state funding, and she said she was worried that could be stripped away.
 
Jacobson called Benson’s demands for proof of impact a Catch-22: “You have to have staff to be able to do the research.”
(Star Tribune)

As Sen. Benson (R-Ham Lake) has a safe seat I haven’t paid any attention to her during election seasons. She’s your typical Minnesota Party of Trump member, with a website that’s heavy on MNsure/ACA-bashing and whimpering about tax “relief.”
 

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trump4From the guy who’s going to protect us from the ISIL hordes, coming to kill us all. Because among other things he knows more than the generals.
 

But arguably more important than Trump’s lazy dishonesty is his willingness to intensify his ongoing feud with U.S. intelligence agencies. In one juvenile tweet, the president-elect managed to attack the integrity of the agencies, their work, their professionalism, and their findings. He also has clearly made up his mind about the underlying controversy, choosing to believe Russia over American officials.
 
Sure, other presidents (and presidents-elect) have clashed with intelligence officials in recent history, but Trump is the first to openly taunt and mock these agencies in public.
(MSNBC/Steve Benen)

And then this.
 

Donald Trump and his transition team are working on a plan to revamp and reduce the size of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA because the President-elect believes that the U.S. intelligence community is biased against him and has tried to undermine his election, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday evening.
 
Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and his nominee to lead the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) also believe that the DNI and CIA are biased, and the two are helping devise the plan to restructure the agencies, according to the Journal.
(Talking Points Memo)

I happen to think, myself, that given its history, and the general attitudes and motives of too many people who work for it, the CIA should be not “restructured,” but disbanded entirely. (What it has done well can be done at least as well elsewhere.) But in a very smart and careful way, not in an infantile fit of pique.
 
Trump may of course completely reverse himself on this. He may be doing so right now for all I know. That’s part of the con, too.
 

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middleclassIf this might affect you personally you really should read the whole article. There are multiple factors in play.
 

Considering it’s been less than a decade since the real estate crash that plunged the world into economic calamity, you might think Republicans in Congress would be a little wary of legislation that risked infuriating voters by pushing down house prices.
 
Apparently not! As part of the massive tax-cut push they’ve cued up for this year, GOP leaders are quietly contemplating a proposal that would indirectly curtail the mortgage interest deduction, long considered a sacred cow of American tax policy. The move would almost certainly lead some home values to fall, though it’s hard to predict by how much.
(Slate)

Proper reform of the deduction would stick to making it a lot less of yet another handout to the rich man. But that’s not in the cards.
 

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MNGov: A GOP rift already?

by Dan Burns on January 4, 2017 · 1 comment

mngopdonorsI’ve been taking for granted that House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) is a shoo-in for the Minnesota Party of Trump nomination for governor in 2018. Corporate media in the state certainly loves the guy. But Keith Downey is stepping down as the state Republican Party boss, and informed speculation about his intent is rampant.
 

Downey could remain politically visible after leaving his post. He’s widely mentioned as a potential candidate for governor in 2018, alongside a crowded field of other Republicans such as House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson and several state lawmakers.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)

The deal appears to be, from what I’ve seen here and there on social media, that moneyed metro GOPers prefer Downey. So this could turn into a brawl. That would be cool.
 

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trump8Believe it or not The Amphibian told it like it is. Though of course he walked it back when the boss got peeved.
 

Newt Gingrich said (Dec. 21) that Donald Trump’s “drain the swamp” catch phrase was “cute” but that the President-elect now disclaims it.
 
During an interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition” (Dec. 21), host Rachel Martin asked if the former House speaker had been “working in the swamp, to use Donald Trump’s language.”
 
“I’m told he now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore,” Gingrich said, referring to the phrase. “I’d written what I thought was a very cute tweet about ‘the alligators are complaining,’ and somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff.”
(Talking Points Memo)

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