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Dan Burns

Peter Perovich for Minnesota House 35A

by Dan Burns on September 23, 2014 · 0 comments

perovichThis is an open seat, because Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) made this his last term, in order to run for the U.S. Senate. R+6, open seat, solid DFL year, crazy GOPer make it winnable.
 
Our candidate is Peter Perovich. Here’s his Facebook.
 

I am running for Minnesota House to fight for our families and local businesses. The needs of our communities match those of similar communities around the state, yet we struggle to find solid ground for growth and sustainable prosperity. I will use my experience to help build consensus and find real solutions to our State problems. I know that your family deserves better and I will always put people before politics.
 
We need to address the inequities that are brought upon our area; I will dedicate myself to make sure we are treated fairly, build upon existing cooperative efforts, and strengthen our communities so we rank amongst the best places to live in Minnesota. We do not want to go back to the gridlock that made Minnesota look like Washington D.C. As your State Representative, I will continue the fight for our families and businesses so that we can keep moving Minnesota forward.
(Peter Perovich for Minnesota House)

The Republican candidate is Abigail Whelan.
 

But – and those images show it – wanting to screw over the ultra-poor, the full time laborers suffering under an outdated and inadequate minimum wage; that is bad policy and uncharitable to boot. (It is her “firm and unwavering position on” that issue; per Cato rhetoric — pie charts, and all.)
 
No matter what biased “think tank” rationalizations and propaganda points the lady musters, she clearly dumps on raising the minimum wage to help working folks in the district and that’s not my cup bag of tea…
 
A quick online background search suggests Whelan is not a privileged Republican of the Mitt Romney mould; but more a Michele Bachmann clone, one or two generations younger. And — that’s scary.
(Developers Are Crabgrass)

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12376938I wrote here about how Stewart Mills III, the GOP candidate for Rep. Rick Nolan’s (D-MN) place in Congress, implied that voters in the district just don’t much care about what’s going on elsewhere on the globe. (Specifically, I titled it “Mills calls district voters a bunch of dumb rubes.”) I don’t mean to say that his campaign is paying any attention to me, I don’t see why they would, but there does appear to have been an effort to upgrade his public standing on this.
 

After Nolan’s ‘no’ vote, his Republican challenger’s camp was quick to issue a statement:
 
“Rick Nolan’s vote tonight against the bipartisan agreement to equip and train Syrian rebels was deeply disappointing,” said Chloe Rockow, communications director for the Stewart Mills campaign in a statement. “The solution was a responsible way to fight ISIS without putting any American troops on the ground, but Rick Nolan continued his trend of voting against what’s best for our troops and veterans. He wants to ignore the gathering threat of ISIS for philosophical reasons, but once again, his vote was wrong for the 8th Congressional District.”
 
Nolan’s camp fired back Wednesday night:
 
“It’s surprising that Stewart Mills III has awoken to this issue, despite telling the Duluth News Tribune that voters aren’t concerned with foreign policy. Rep. Nolan opposes spending taxpayer dollars on another costly war. Instead he believes we should reinvest in America, rebuild our middle class, and support veterans by tackling the backlog of VA benefits claims, increasing access to mental health services, and ensuring veterans living in rural areas can visit their local doctor. Rep. Nolan will continue to oppose wars of choice abroad and do everything he can to support our veterans here at home,” Nolan’s communication director, Sacha Haworth, said in a statement.
(WDIO)

Or there hasn‘t been such an effort. There seem to be internal communication issues.
 
…READ MORE

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Corporations stiffing workers worst in 63 years

by Dan Burns on September 19, 2014 · 1 comment

Lazarus_at_rich_man's_house_C-922A couple of recent items about the economy that caught my eye.
 

Corporate income, which makes up about three-quarters of all private sector income in the country, can either go to employees or the owners of companies, and last year just under 73 percent went to employees, the lowest point in more than six decades. [...]
 
Workers aren’t earning less because they’re slacking off—just the opposite. Their productivity increased 8 percent between 2007 and 2012 while their wages actually fell, a trend that has been going on since at least 1979. And they’ve been speeding up since the recession, increasing their productivity last summer at the fastest pace since 2009.
(Daily Kos)

Severely limiting what recipients of benefits can own has no economic value. It’s basically punitive.
 

Many other states have asset-limit policies that similarly conflict with the goals of employment and economic security, especially given the importance of savings and assets for low-income families who are trying to pull themselves out of poverty. Having even a few hundred dollars in savings can make it easier to weather financial setbacks without facing the risk of eviction or having utilities shut off, and assets such as a vehicle can be key to securing and maintaining employment. But because of asset limits, struggling families can face a difficult dilemma: being told on the one hand the value of savings and self-reliance, while on the other being discouraged or explicitly prohibited from having modest savings or assets as a condition of accessing needed public assistance programs.
(Center for American Progress)

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millspartying2All three certainly have a great deal in common. A few of the basics:
 
- Each owes it all to vast helpings of unearned privilege.
 
- They are not precisely thick-witted, but certainly by no means of outstanding intelligence in any meaningful sense of that phrase. And, psychologically, each appears to be a delusional narcissist, which means they can be readily manipulated by anyone who properly strokes their egos.
 
- It would be, or would have been, much better if all three, and everyone like them, stayed out of politics, past, present, and future.
 
You know, it’s a tough, tough call, and I’m not sure that there’s any point to a drawn-out parsing of the minutiae. I do know that if Mills wins this race, he will almost certainly display future ambition far beyond being a low-seniority member of the U.S. House. That seems ridiculous, but, like I said, “delusional.” It would be best if voters firmly put an end to that, in 47 days.
 
That being said, my general sense is that Mills is more like George W. Bush than he is like Mitt Romney. W., more so than Mitt, always seemed genuinely flabbergasted at any indication that the whole world doesn’t worship him as much as he does himself. Stewart III comes across that way, too.
 

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Jon Pieper for Minnesota House 28B

by Dan Burns on September 17, 2014 · 0 comments

pieperThis is that rare district that is rated “even.” But Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston) has been winning it for quite some time (11 terms, all told, if I‘m not mistaken. He‘s missed one since he first started, barely losing in 2006, I believe). Perhaps demographic drift, and the general disdain for Republicans that is clearly evident in other contexts, here in Minnesota, can make this our year.

 

As a child, I was given great opportunities. I had a great public education which gave me the opportunity to decide my future, to choose my life. I chose a quality life. I came home. I wanted my children to have the same opportunities as I did, to live in a healthy and safe community. There is no more important responsibility than to preserve the quality of life for our children and grandchildren…
 
After extensive rehabbing, we opened The Old Village Hall Restaurant (in Lanesboro, MN) in 1994. Since opening the restaurant, my property taxes have more than quadrupled. My opponent must not think this is real money for ordinary people. He has consistently voted to hurt our main streets, our friends and our neighbors. He has consistently voted to raise our property taxes. So much has changed in the last twenty years, but my opponent has not.
(Jon Pieper for House 28B)

Unlike many of these sorts of races that I’ve been blogging about, there is no shortage of noteworthy media items about the incumbent. This, from 2011, is typical. (The link no longer works, so I’m blockquoting from a blockquote – you‘ll see what I mean):
 

When Rep. Greg Davids was in Willmar Tuesday night to explain the new tax bill to local government officials, he said the elimination of the market value homestead credit was proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton during special session negotiations in July.
 
Davids, a Republican from Preston, is chairman of the House Tax Committee, and reiterated that statement in a telephone interview Thursday morning…
 
Katharine Tinucci, Dayton’s press secretary, called the Tribune to say that Dayton did not propose eliminating the homestead credits and that the proposal came from Republican lawmakers. She said the governor reluctantly agreed to proposal the as part of a compromise to end the state shutdown.
(Bluestem Prairie)

Just to be clear, Tinucci was correct, and voters held Republicans accountable in 2012.
 

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Reasoned, learned discussion of the MNsure news

by Dan Burns on September 17, 2014 · 0 comments

I’m quoting this via Minnesota Brown. Jennifer Schultz is the DFL candidate for Minnesota House District 7A (Duluth); she’s probably at least a 99% favorite to win. She’s also an economics professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth. There’s no way to blockquote this effectively. I’m just lifting some tidbits, but it’s all useful for, among other things, figuratively wiping the smug smirks from the mugs of obnoxious, gloating – and most of all, desperate – righties.
 

“The Affordable Care Act and MNsure are programs based on market capitalism,” said Schultz. “The program was developed twenty years ago by the very conservative Heritage Foundation. In market capitalism, we expect that some players will find difficulty in competing and make mistakes. We expect the market to weed them out.
 
“Of the more than 327,000 Minnesotans who are insured through MNsure, only 10% are insured through PreferredOne. These customers do not need to be alarmed by this development.
 
“It is especially important to note that no customers will be uninsured as a result of this change…”
 
“The most likely reason for PreferredOne leaving the program is that its clients, obviously enrolled because PreferredOne was the lowest cost insurer, are the most price sensitive, and if PreferredOne found itself unable to match prices of other insurers in the exchange, they probably stood to lose a large part of their market share.
 
“I am surprised that people are surprised by this development. That shows lack of understanding of how markets work. I am very suspicious that most of the excitement we are seeing is pure opportunism on the part of political partisans hoping to gain an advantage by acting like this is a crisis.”
(Minnesota Brown)

Try as they might, Minnesota’s corporate media outlets have obviously been unable to make MNsure a political liability for DFLers. That’s another thing that won’t change.
 

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minerunoffAnd it really is “mostly.“ I would have to say that the public, the informed part of it anyway, has weighed in. Could well be time for some politicians to reassess.
 

In all, 52,887 people and organizations took time to submit comments on the proposal, which broke the previous state record for comments by nearly 50,000. An analysis of all of the submitted comments conducted by Mining Truth, found that 51,970 (98.2 percent) of the comments raised concerns about the proposal as currently written. There were 883 (1.6 percent) comments supporting the project, and another 84 (0.2 percent) where the author’s position was not clear…
 
“The intensity of the opposition to this project is testament to the fact that the mining companies still have some fairly big information gaps in their proposal,” said Paul Danicic, Executive Director of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness. “Since we don’t know how long polluted water from the site will need to be treated once the mine closes, it is clear that there is growing opposition to the idea of Minnesotans shouldering all the long-term financial and environmental risks while foreign mining corporations rake in all the profits.”
(Mining Truth)

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Susan Witt for Minnesota House 37B

by Dan Burns on September 16, 2014 · 0 comments

wittI also plucked this one from a “most vulnerable Republicans” list. I see nothing but progressive potential in the north metro, though I recognize there is a way to go, yet. Seat by seat, just a matter of time.
 
Susan Witt is a retired teacher. I’m quoting from her website, and here’s her Facebook page.
 

I thought that I should read the Minnesota Constitution so when I took the oath of office to support the constitution I knew what I was affirming. The first article, first section states “Government is instituted for the security, benefit and protection of the people, in whom all political power is inherent.” Paul Wellstone once stated, “Politics is not about power and money games, politics can be about the improvement of people’s lives.” Indeed, this is how our Constitution begins and should be the words that guide our actions. The issues that are brought before the legislature are issues that are about people’s lives.
(Susan Witt for Minnesota House)

From a north metro DFLer:
 

There’s a 6th District doorknocking caravan getting underway for various candidates the next four weeks, and Susan happens to be scheduled this Thursday from 4-7. It organizes from Subway – Blaine – 108th Ln NE & Radisson Road.

One indication of how Minnesota Republicans have been flailing, is how some of their legislators have been getting into leadership despite little time served. Rep. Tim Sanders (R-Blaine) was elected in 2008, yet is already Minority Whip. A thankless job, perhaps, and district voters might well be doing him a favor by sending him on his way. They certainly would be helping out everybody else.
 

During his three terms in office, Tim has been recognized as a steady voice for fiscal responsibility and free market opportunity. He is a strong advocate for spending and tax restraint, pro-job growth initiatives, and government reform.
(Sanders website)

In other words, more handouts for the rich, and cutting government services for everyone who’s not. It all worked so well during the Pawlenty era.
 

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MN-08: A little cheese with that whine, Stewart?

by Dan Burns on September 15, 2014 · 1 comment

This ad was uploaded to YouTube some days before the “Steve” ad that has backfired badly. So it’s not surprising that this is the one that seemed to be blanketing the airwaves Friday night. I watch little television, but I was tired and idly flipping channels, then.
 


 
Some of you may recall the final reelection campaign, in 2000, of the late U.S. Sen. Rod Grams (R-MN). At one point, he aired an ad with his own mother waxing indignant about the attack ads aired on behalf of his opponent; “Stop picking on my boy!” or some such thing. (I couldn’t find a video.) Grams lost. To Mark Dayton, in fact.
 
Mills’s campaign has been a consistently ridiculous clown show. There’s no reason to believe that any time of his spent in Congress would be a damn bit different.

 
This great, must-read item from Developers Are Crabgrass notes that:

 
- Mills does indeed explicitly support additional federal tax cut welfare for himself;
 
- He is far, far more wealthy than is generally realized;
 
- He also has a gig as a vice president of something called “Crow Wing Oil Company,” which “appears to be a shell for commodity speculative trading adventure.” (It’s not a big company, but it doesn’t have to be. They quite possibly do mostly just buy, transport, and sell fuel oil. But in this day and age, when a candidate for high-profile elective office discloses any financial interest in Big Filthy Fossil Fuels, people will raise questions. As they should.)
 

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MPR’s Capitol View Daily Digest has gone downhill

by Dan Burns on September 12, 2014 · 0 comments

It gives me no pleasure to write this. In the past, Minnesota Public Radio’s Capitol View Daily Digest (previously Polinaut) was far and away the finest daily roundup of Minnesota political news. I still peruse it every morning.
 
But it sure ain’t what it used to be. Over the past couple of years, a rightward lean has increasingly manifested. This past week (that is, since Monday, inclusive) is a great example, as the Daily Digest has failed to note:
 
- A new poll showing Minnesota DFLers with an 8-point generic ballot lead for the state House;
 

- That the star of Stewart Mills’s latest ad has a history of posting misogynistic vileness on social media.
 
It’s obvious that MPR’s big corporate donors have successfully “worked the refs,” as has been the case almost everywhere else, for a long time now. So it’s not surprising, but it is aggravating, and kind of sad.
 
Absolutely none of this is intended to individually target MPR’s political writers. I have to follow orders when I go to work, too.
 

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