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Dan Burns

stewartheadbandTwo items. This first one does require some context. Rich candidates in both major parties often loan their own campaigns money. Win or lose, they usually do get it back, with interest. But the practice is often seen as an acknowledgment that anticipated funding sources aren’t coming through as hoped.

Federal Election Commission filings for the second quarter show the Mills campaign’s principal committee, Friends of Stewart Mills, took in $794,001 compared to the Nolan for Congress Volunteer Committee’s $428,178. However, Mills loaned his own campaign $500,000, the first time he has loaned the committee money so far this election cycle. Mills also had less than a fourth of Nolan’s cash on hand going into the third quarter, and had spent about five times as much.
(Brainerd Dispatch)

This next one gets no softening “context.” If one campaign manager after another isn’t willing to stay aboard…

The campaign of Stewart Mills III recently had John Eloranta take over the helm as manager.
Originally, Charlie Szold was announced as the manager in March for Mills’ GOP campaign to unseat Democrat U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. In May, Szold left the Mills campaign to instead manage the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. David Young, R-Iowa. Szold was replaced by Mike Lukach, who previously served as Mills’ campaign manager during his 2014 bid for the 8th District.
(Brainerd Dispatch)


Donald_TrumpThat cooked “scandals” about e-mail are being treated as far more important than the likes of this, says it all about the degraded nadir to which American corporate “journalism” has fallen. Hillary Clinton will likely wipe her bottom with Donald Trump anyway, come Election Day, but it still sucks.

And in all honesty a big factor in how pissed off I continually am about this is my own sense of helplessness. I cannot for the life of me figure out an effective way to force c. media to shape up. People have been showing for decades now what bulls*it it is. Many millions nonetheless still watch/read/listen, and believe the plutocratic, war pig propaganda that they are shamelessly fed.

This article is comprehensive, brutal, and undeniable. Click and read.

Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin’s increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there’s quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.

Additional material, from DKos this morning, here.


women__s_rights_chalk_by_luckyduck2-d3jfdlvActually, as a pathological narcissist he considers everyone except Donald Trump to be that. But especially women. Yet a lot of women, and not just the hopelessly cognitively rigid, intend to vote for him. What’s to be done?
I don’t consider myself well-qualified to provide good insight on this. What I’ve done instead is find articles by some who are.

In the case of a Trump supporter, you could start off with emotionally charged issues close to his or her heart. If your Trump-supporting friend or family member is a woman who believes in reproductive health rights, explain that Trump supports defunding Planned Parenthood and holds lots of retrograde opinions about women. If it’s a friend whose house was once foreclosed on, perhaps show them a video of Trump saying he cheered for the housing collapse of 2008. If it’s a small business owner who employs immigrants, show them how disruptive Trump’s immigration policies would be to their work.



Vikings stadium ribbon-cutting today

by Dan Burns on July 22, 2016 · 0 comments

minneapolis-aerial-530I have a couple of items to pass along, to mark the, uh, joyous occasion.

About $20 million annually was used to breath life anew into Minneapolis neighborhoods. Today, that program struggles to cobble together around $4 million.

That’s because payments on the city’s spending bender are now coming due.
According to the city Finance Department, Minneapolis is on the hook for about $1.6 billion in debt and operational costs for the convention center, the Vikings stadium, and the Timberwolves arena over the next 20 years.
Broken down, that’s an annual three checks adding up to $80 million, money that’s off the table for paving East Franklin Avenue, fixing swings at Kenwood Park, or financing low-interest business loans on West Broadway.
(City Pages)

If you’re a member of Minneapolis’ creative industry, you helped contribute $4.5 billion to the local economy last year.
That’s the finding of a report into the value of the city’s arts and culture workers released (in June). It shows creative jobs grew by 10.4 percent in 2015 – ahead of the 7.2 percent rise seen across all jobs in Minneapolis.
And despite Minneapolis being home to the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Lynx, the $4.5 billion revenue generated by the creative sector dwarfs that made by the sports industry by eight times.
(Bring Me The News)


MN-08: More embarrassment for Mills

by Dan Burns on July 20, 2016 · 3 comments

millspartying2What with the effort at a political image makeover, some may have been left wondering what the “real” Stewart Mills III is all about. This is telling. The article has numerous specific examples.

The Mills Fleet Farm scion, who’s challenging DFL U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan a second time for Minnesota’s Iron Range seat, cranked out his brand of conservative bro-humor on Facebook pretty regularly back before he was running for political office. A review of old posts on social media finds Mills making flippant references to battered women, his own laziness, and the health benefits of women swallowing after oral sex, among other topics most politicians would happily avoid.
(City Pages)

So behind all of the contrived crap, what we’re dealing with is a “bro.” No wonder he’s endorsed Donald Trump for president.
Here is Rep. Nolan’s website.

I’ve been psychologically burned before by taking generic congressional ballots too literally, months before the election. That being said, right now things aren’t looking good for the likes of Mills.
Comment below fold.


Donald_TrumpThe article also has plenty about Minnesota GOPers in general who aren’t thrilled. A last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the nomination failed on Monday, though. Not without plenty of action.

Among Minnesota Republicans, Congressmen John Kline and Erik Paulsen are staying home. Aides to both note neither went to the national convention four years ago either.
Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt will be there as a Rubio delegate.
6th District Representative Tom Emmer is headed to Cleveland, too.

Minnesota’s prominent no-shows do have plenty of company. And Stewart Mills III, the Republican trying to defeat Rep. Rick Nolan in MN-08, isn’t there, either.


When Mike Pence went shopping

by Dan Burns on July 18, 2016 · 0 comments

penceIndiana Governor Mike Pence was mostly unknown before Donald Trump added him to the ticket, but he did once make the news in a way that shows he clearly has the foreign policy chops to match Trump. In other words, none.
In 2007, Pence was one of the congressmen who joined Sen. John McCain on a tour of the Shorja Market in Baghdad in an attempt to show how secure it was. Pence said this market in Baghdad was, “just like any open-air market in Indiana in the summertime.” ThinkProgress and NPR had the story, the gist of which is this: Pence needed body armor to visit the market in Baghdad. He had a heavy military escort. The area had been swept and secured before he arrived. Merchants were irate that he called it safe. Reporters in his district in rural Indiana found the comparison ludicrous.
And the next day, somebody retaliated by killing workers at the Shorja market in a death squad attack. Pence, as far as anyone can tell, might still be oblivious to what was going on in Iraq. Well, at least Trump’s judgement is “consistent.” Assuming consistency is more valuable than having a clue about what goes on in the rest of the world.


sulfideTwin Metals has a plan in the works to get into some serious sulfide mining, right next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. If that seems like a really awful, horrible idea to you, first of all, it is, and second, you have plenty of company.

Much of that pressure has come from the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, which says it has gathered 55,000 petitions urging the Forest Service to deny the leases.
The campaign’s Becky Rom says federal agencies should decide now whether the area is appropriate for copper mining, before specific mine plans are submitted…
Daryl Spencer of Duluth summed up the views of the majority of speakers at Wednesday’s event when he told the Forest Service he’s not against mining; he just doesn’t support it in the same watershed as the Boundary Waters.
“I want jobs for Iron Range families,” Spencer said. “This is just a bad place for this type of mine, and it’s not worth the risk.”

Here’s a MinnPost article suggesting that this potentially disastrous travesty probably will meet the fate it deserves. I’m not wholly on board with that – that is, I’m not ready to proclaim triumph, yet – but the author does make a strong case.

{ 1 comment }

school2Over the years my email address has found its way onto a lot of lists. I rarely unsubscribe because they’re one of my data streams, albeit not the most efficient one to say the least, for what’s going on. I’ve been getting a lot, lately, about what belongs in the Democratic Party platform. (I’m of the belief that when it comes to the actual presidential election, the platform means about as much as the VP pick. That is, not a whole lot. But it’s not meaningless, either.) #1 is a measure opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (a noble effort, but unsuccessful). A strong anti-fracking statement is probably second (ditto). Single-payer health care pops up now and then. And a handful of others have appeared.
I have yet to get one to the effect that the Dem platform needs to feature a really strong, unequivocal statement supporting public schools, everywhere and always, in the face of relentless deformer assaults. Here’s what‘s in the July 1 draft, and it apparently wasn‘t touched during final pre-convention negotiations a few days ago. The term I‘d apply is “boilerplate.”

We will ensure there are great Pre-K-12 schools in every zip code. Democrats are committed to the federal government continuing to play a critical role in working towards an America where a world-class education is available to every child. Democrats believe that a strong public education system is an anchor of our democracy, a propeller of the economy, and the vehicle through which we help all children achieve their dreams. Public education must engage students to be critical thinkers and civic participants while addressing the wellbeing of the whole child.

Which isn’t surprising. Those of us working against corporate takeovers of public education have been winning in some ways, but not in others. Not enough to where too many electeds are about to stand on principle, regardless of where the money is coming from. We’ll just have to keep at it.
Update: It turns out that some worthy changes were made.

Unfortunately, the amendment process in Orlando did not consider adding a progressive vision for public education to the platform, but many of the specifics in the document shifted to the left, thanks mostly to supporters of the Sanders campaign joining with Clinton supporters to press for progressive change…
One way you can tell how much the document has been improved is by noticing the angry objections to the changes coming from centrist “reformers.”
(Campaign for America’s Future)



A proposal allowing doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans appeared close to becoming law until Congress removed it (in late June) from the agency’s annual budget bill at the last moment.
The legislation, sponsored by Oregon lawmakers, had cleared prior votes in the House and Senate but was nixed (June 22) during final closed-door negotiations on the VA bill. It would have lifted a prohibition on the VA recommending the drug to patients in states where it is legal…
“It’s outrageous that it was removed” from the annual VA budget bill, Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Sen. Jeff Merkley, both Democrats from Oregon, said in a joint statement (June 24). “To add insult to injury, the legislation was released in the middle of the night, not even giving members of the House an opportunity to review the language before voting on it.”
(Stars and Stripes)

Though it’s not a cure-all for everyone, the benefits of medical marijuana are well-established. And more generally, apocalyptic, reactionary claims about the effects of full legalization have been proven to be nonsense. Some people just cannot abide that they are losing to the hippies. They need to change their internal framing, by pulling their heads out of 40-50 years ago and into the here and now.