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Invenium Viam

 

Field Marshall Trump

President Trump in the ‘Zhukov-style’ Field Marshal of America uniform

Dateline: May 16, 2017 ~ Washington, DC

 

“As Commander-In-Chief, I’m bigger than the biggest generals, right?” President Trump opined during an exclusive interview with Minnesota Progressive Project. “I’m bigger than Petraeus, bigger than McMaster, bigger than Odierno, bigger than Ryan, bigger than that tight-ass jarhead — what’s his name? — the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you know who I’m talking about, bigger than him even. I’m the biggest of all and that means I should have a better uniform than any of them.”

 

When MNPP pointed out that in Article II, Section 2, of the US Constitution the founders vested supreme command of the military in the President as the civilian head of government and that made it unnecessary for the Commander-In-Chief to wear a military uniform, President Trump sneered in annoyance. “That’s the problem with you godd@m libtards — you think you know everything. F*ck the Constitution. Even the Surgeon General gets to go around wearing a cool uniform if he wants to, so why not the president? Especially since I’m a wartime president and will be until the day I die. I need to be in uniform when I review my troops and when we have military parades on my and Ivanka’s birthdays. It makes no sense not to have the President in uniform on those occasions, but that’s Obama for you. That dummy couldn’t get anything right.”

 

“So I asked around,” the President continued. I said, “What rank out-ranks a four-star general? And somebody said, ‘A Field Marshal.’ So I said, ‘Name some famous Field Marshals.’ And somebody said back, ‘Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. Field Marshal Georgi Zhukov.’ I’d heard the names before, so I said, ‘I’m honored to count myself among such famous fellow citizens and patriots and become a Field Marshal of America. My first act as Field Marshal will be to order all our troops in uniform to dress right regardless of how they naturally hang. That’ll let ’em know right away who’s in charge because it touches them at a personal level.”

 

“Look,” the President declared with evident delight. “I’ve been practicing my salute.” He then snapped his heels together smartly and demonstrated several times how he executes an impressive salute to underlings. “It takes practice to get the hang of it,” he admitted. “It might seem like one salute is as good as another, but my salute has to say, ‘I’m the President and a Field Marshal of America and I severely out-rank you, boy.’ It’s hard to convey all that with a simple salute unless you really know how to give it some snap.”

 

“Here’s a picture of me in the first of a couple-dozen Field Marshal uniforms I’m having custom-made in India for different occasions and for the different branches of service. This one is called the ‘Zhukov’ style. It’s for reviewing the Army. Some of the others are called the ‘Wellington,’ the ‘Pinochet,’ and the ‘Pahlavi’. This last one is titanium white and all gold braid with a scarlet satin sash across the chest. I’ll wear this one when I review the troops at NASA.”

 

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Featured Guest Commentary

Senator-John-Martyby Senator John Marty
April 29, 2017

What if Republicans repealed Minnesota’s campaign finance reforms and nobody knew about it? Unfortunately, that is happening right now.

 

Both the Minnesota House and Senate recently passed legislation to repeal the heart of Minnesota’s campaign finance reform laws. These were major reforms adopted on a bipartisan basis forty years ago in the wake of the Watergate scandal and were strengthened after an ethics scandal in the early 1990s.

 

Despite widespread disgust at the corruption of our democracy from powerful special interests and deep frustration at the Citizens’ United ruling which allowed more big money into politics, there has been no public outcry about this effort to repeal Minnesota’s reforms, even though this will make the situation worse.

 

Why the lack of outcry? Simply put, the public doesn’t know about it. I have not seen a single news report about the issue, perhaps because the repeal is buried in the large budget bill that funds state agencies. It takes just 4 lines hidden in a lengthy 56-page bill to destroy four decades of campaign financing reform.

 

The law being repealed established campaign spending limits for candidates. Those spending limits are tied to public financing to help give new candidates and those without a lot of money a chance to compete without relying on wealthy interests to fund their campaigns.

 

Virtually all candidates for the Minnesota legislature and constitutional offices currently abide by the spending limits. If this repeal is signed into law, in 2018 there won’t be any restriction on how much a candidate can spend.

 

People who care about the future of our democracy should be outraged. Year after year, politicians and the courts have been steadily turning our democracy over to the highest bidders, turning our elections into auctions. Well-funded interests can win enough close races to determine who controls government.

 

As a candidate who has rejected all PAC and lobbyist money, I am concerned that candidates who reject special interest money will have no chance of winning, and that legislators will become even more beholden to the interests of the big donors who fund their campaigns.

 

Major changes in state policy such as this should not be buried in budget bills. Senate File 605, the State Government Appropriations Bill that contains the repeal of the campaign finance reforms, is in conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate language. The one conferee fighting to block it is Sen. Carolyn Laine, the only DFL member of the committee. Unless the Republican conference committee members have a change of heart, or unless the Governor vetoes the bill, Minnesota’s campaign finance reforms will be gone.

 

If we believe that our state should be governed by the will of the voters, not the desires of wealthy donors and powerful interests, we need to speak out now. For the sake of our democracy, we need the legislature to remove the repeal language or for Governor Dayton to veto the bill.

 


Copyright © 2017 Senator John Marty. All rights reserved. Reprinted here with permission from the author.

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Why Trump Will Resign Before the Mid-term Elections

by Invenium Viam on April 27, 2017 · 0 comments

trump7

Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day.”


“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can.”
                                    Simple Man, Lynyrd Skynyrd

 

Now approaching 100 days of the single most incompetent administration in American history so far, The Donald® has discovered, among other things: 1) That health care reform is complicated; 2) That China and Korea have ancient animosities that inform their relations to this day; 3) That government is big, costly, often inefficient, and difficult to manage; 4) That the UN and NATO have been crucial in maintaining a stable world order since World War II; and 5) That the Middle-east is a centuries old, savage, bloody pit-fight managed and run by corrupt, theocratic and/or oligarchic governments run by some of the worst people in the world.

 

In short, Trump has been finding out that he doesn’t know very much outside of New York real estate and is ill-suited to be the president. Or, put another way, #45 is simply ignorant about many, many things. That is not a criticism. We are all ignorant about some things. But Trump continues to believe that he’s the smartest guy in whatever room he happens to occupy, about everything, because his narcissistic ego tells him so. And he loves listening to that devil because he’s become the lowest form of crack-whore for self-flattery and self-aggrandisement.

 

Unfortunately, his bottomless appetite for both is precisely what makes him stupid. It’s kind of like watching someone smoke a cigarette through a tracheal ventilator. It’s sadly, tragically, horrific.

 

The problem with stupid people is that quite often they don’t know that they’re stupid. Many of them think that they’re smart. And they get very, very angry when smart people point out that they’re stupid. Smart people like journalists, judges and economists who write news stories, legal opinions, and reports that shine a light on stupid actions, stupid decisions, and stupid policies. Not ignorant actions, not ill-informed decisions, not uneducated policies − stupid ones.

 

The antidote for stupidity is humility, the acquisition of specific knowledge about specific subject matter, and reliance on expertise in the absence of a deeper understanding. Trump has no humility, he has an obviously limited fund of knowledge, and he denigrates and disparages expertise. He believes that he’s smarter than the generals, smarter than the diplomats, smarter than the spooks, smarter than the scientists, smarter than the policy experts. He has absolutely no rational basis for believing these things, but he does anyway. He is forced to reverse his positions and revise his opinions again and again. And the feedback he gets from all quarters universally contradicts his boundless hubris, yet he rejects all criticism and contrary evidence that shows himself to himself in a light he doesn’t like because it doesn’t agree with his self-image.

 

Taken in concert, this is precisely what makes Trump a very, very stupid man. He has no true sense of himself or of how he comports himself, of how his current actions are influenced by past actions, or how current actions might affect future actions. That is the very definition of stupidity: having no guiding sense or insight.

 

And that’s why it’s a dead certainty that both Trump-the-candidate and his campaign staff colluded with Russian foreign intelligence operatives working directly for Putin to skew the 2016 presidential election on Trump’s behalf. Russia has a long history of interfering in the elections of other countries. They are interfering in European elections at this very moment. The US, too, has a long history of interfering in the elections of other nations. Along with proxy wars, interfering in the elections of other nations was a major component of the decades-long Cold War between the US and the USSR. And it continues to this day.

 

Besides, Putin hates Hillary for supporting regime change during her tenure as Secretary of State and was enraged by her statements in support of anti-Putin protesters in December of 2011, who claimed Putin had rigged the parliamentary elections. He vowed revenge. And he got it.

 

Therein lies the key to understanding why Trump will be impeached and forced to resign. There is no law that prevents Russia or any other country from attempting to interfere with our elections. There are laws against espionage. There are laws against cyber intrusion and hacking. There are laws against political candidates and campaigns colluding with foreign governments to influence the outcome of elections. There are laws against government officials − including retired generals − taking money from foreign governments. There are lots of laws against corruption of all kinds. But political corruption is something distinct from business corruption. Having never held public office before being elected President, Trump had little direct experience with what constitutes political corruption. Winning a political election is not the same thing as having either political competence, or competence in office.

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Downsizing Applebee’s: A Canary in the Coal Mine

by Invenium Viam on April 19, 2017 · 1 comment

applebees_closedLast month, on March 3, 2017, Business Insider announced that Applebee’s Restaurants would close “… between 40 and 60 locations this year.” One of those locations is a couple of blocks from my house, which closed its doors a few days ago.

 

“We believe that restaurant closures are an important tool to preserving the financial health of the system,” acting CEO Richard Dahl bloviated in a call to investors. While Dahl’s statement was PR honey-and-lemon-flavored ear wash intended to put an ExecuSpeak spin on things, the fact is that Applebee’s had already closed 46 locations in 2016 in anticipation of what analysts feared might be the onset of a ‘restaurant recession’ this year, whatever the hell that is.

 

Dahl became the acting CEO when former CEO Julia Stewart – one of the highest-profile and longest-serving chief executives in the casual restaurant industry – was forced out on February 17 (along with her CFO) and formally resigned on March 1. Stewart’s departure is the latest in a long string of restaurant-chain CEO resignations in the wake of declining sales and traffic industry-wide over the last year. Her beheading came after a failed campaign to recapture market share with an attractive new menu of $10 entrees. As a marketing professional, the meaning of that campaign was crystal clear to me – Applebee’s primary clientele, a vast swath of the wage-earning middle-class, was extremely price sensitive and the target price point is $10.

 

Ten dollars.

 

Business Insider attributes Applebee’s lackluster sales to ” … the rise of fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle and Panera, and the fact that more people are eating at home because grocery prices are falling …” but that argument is missing the forest for the trees. It is informed by competitive positioning and sales figures (two data sources that consume enormous mind share of business executives to the point of tunnel vision), based on the presumption that if restaurant customers in their market demographics are not buying from us (i.e., Applebee’s), they must be spending their food dollars elsewhere. That’s a bad assumption, utterly without foundation.

 

There are many reasons why that argument doesn’t hold water. First, Chipotle is only now showing signs of renewed life after a disastrous 2015 loss of market share and tumbling stock prices due to E. Coli deaths and illnesses from food-borne pathogens at restaurants across the country. The current stock price is $470, only somewhat improved from a low of $413 on January 8, 2016 and still down more than 25% from an all-time high of $640 on October 30, 2015 – the day before the E. Coli outbreak went public. To be sure, Panera’s sales, market share and stock prices have all jumped, partly based on a “clean food” initiative that appeals to high-wage techies and well-compensated DINK’s, but that is a notable exception to current trends. Besides, have you noticed grocery prices going down? I haven’t. The historical trend in grocery prices is an increase of 2-3% annually and that trend has held for a couple of decades, at least. In 2014, there was a huge jump in prices at the grocery store and even with stable prices in the cost of gasoline over the last several years, the cost of groceries hasn’t declined. And even if grocery prices were declining, wouldn’t that translate to more money in the pockets of consumers and more of their food dollar being spent dining out? No, it makes no sense …

 

All this begs the question: Is there a better explanation of why Applebee’s was forced into a survival-mode strategy of cutting 100+ stores? And just how is all this political, guy? Answers: Yes, there is a better explanation. And it’s political because downsizing Applebee’s is a metaphor of a downsizing middle-class.

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Man-Boys with Nuclear Toys

by Invenium Viam on March 30, 2017 · 0 comments

man-boys“… as I look at the End-Times scripture, this says to me that […] we are to understand where we are in God’s End-Times history.” Rep. Michele Bachmann

 

Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has said a lot of crazy things over the years that prove she’s uneducated about some subjects, dis-educated about others, and simply ignorant — by design or default — about still others. But that doesn’t mean she’s wrong. She may be right about these being the End-Times for planet Earth, for example, although like many conservatives she’s infrequently right for frequently wrong reasons.

 

I believe the world could very well end in our lifetimes, or even next month, but it isn’t because God has a plan to destroy the wicked and redeem the faithful. It’s because we human beings are driven by irrational beliefs and unreal objectives that cause us to create defective social orders and manage them with incompetent leadership systems. We often deny what’s factually and provably true (e.g., global warming) and believe wholeheartedly in the delusional (e.g., Jade Helm 15). Our leadership systems, by design or default, too often come to rely on exploiting human foibles to advance the careers of narcissistic and paranoid individuals within defective systems of governance, thereby to promote the delusional policies they espouse (e.g., the 18th Amendment). The only foundational difference between any system of human governance is whether it selects for control freaks who pass laws and sanctions against drinking, phucking and getting high, or selects for greedheads who pass laws and policies that serve their avarice and that of their friends. The worse systems of governance, of course, are those that select for a little of both — Control-Freak-Greedheads — and produce such murderous gems as Idi Amin, Shah Reza Pahlavi, and Saddam Hussein. No, it’s human faults and failings that will bring about the end of the world, not a vengeful God. The proof is readily at hand.

 

Take for example President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, two extremely volatile, narcissistic and paranoid individuals who espouse a wide range of delusional beliefs and related policies. Or, as I like to refer to them, Man-boys with Nuclear Toys. Each believes he possesses magical powers. Kim Jong-un believes he was a child prodigy who could drive a car at age three and was winning yacht races at age nine. He got 11 holes-in-one his first time out golfing. He satisfies every woman he sleeps with multiple times before he even meets her. Oh, and he doesn’t ever defecate (maybe that’s why he’s so irritable). Donald Trump, on the other hand, is smarter than everyone else on the planet … about everything imaginable. He can make millions of Americans who watch Duck Dynasty believe ten impossible things before breakfast. He can close his eyes and make the world disappear. He can make Republicans defend his tweets, rants, and executive orders even though they really don’t want to. And he convinced half of the mass media prior to his election that his personal reality was the only reality that matters, who then awarded him half-a-billion dollars of free media and the presidency just for sh*ts and giggles.

 

It was a defective social order and ineffective leadership-selection system that put each of them in power and handed them the nuclear launch codes. We don’t need God to blow up the world; we can do that ourselves without needing help. We can only credit God with an earthly intervention if those two fail to blow up the world. Think of it this way: If you were to equip a pair of 9-year-old boys with fully loaded Glock 9 mm Semi-automatic pistols and send them out to play, and nothing bad happened, wouldn’t that prove the existence of God?

 

On the other hand, maybe Bachmann is right and God really does have a plan to destroy the world.

 

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Featured Guest Commentary

Senator-John-MartyThe essay by Senator John Marty provided below is from a post first published by Bill Moyers on March 4, 2017, on BillMoyers.com. Re-published here with permission from the author.

 

In a Special Report entitled “Is Health Care Doomed?” journalist Bill Moyers examines the current state of health care reform in the US and profiles various efforts by state legislators to offer alternatives to widespread loss of access to affordable health care under the new Republican plan to demolish the ACA (“Obamacare”). In particular, he spotlights Senator John Marty’s plan to reform health care and notes:

“We are at a stalemate. Opponents of the ACA have no viable replacement and supporters have no power to stave off the Republican bulldozer.

 

Is the situation hopeless? In Washington, probably — at least for now. But there are alternatives. As I noted above, two longtime advocates for universal health care, Drs. Woolhandler and Himmelstein, have renewed their campaign for single-payer reform, which candidate Barack Obama applauded when he was campaigning and then rejected after his election as part of those compromises he made to win support from conservative Democrats and the medical and insurance industries. In their Annals article, the two reformist physicians offer evidence that single-payer reform could provide “comprehensive coverage within the current budgetary envelope” because of huge savings on health care bureaucracy. It’s worth reading.

 

healing-health-care-front-cover

Download the free e-book.

So is a plan put forth by Minnesota State Sen. John Marty. Often described as “the conscience of the Minnesota Senate,” Marty has been an advocate for universal health care since he was elected 30 years ago. He has served as chairman of the Senate Health Committee and now serves as the ranking minority member of the Senate Energy Committee. Often ahead of his times, Marty introduced and eventually secured passage of the country’s first ban on smoking in hospitals and health care facilities. Long before public support had materialized, he worked to ban mercury in consumer products, create a legal structure for public benefit corporations and bring about a “living wage” for workers. In 2008, when he introduced legislation proposing marriage equality for LGBT couples and predicted it could pass in five years, colleagues dismissed him as a Don Quixote. Five years later Minnesota passed marriage equality legislation.

 

So this lifelong progressive has earned the right to chide his fellow progressives for “merely tinkering” with problems. He writes that “If 21st-century progressives had been leading the 19th-century abolition movement, we would still have slavery, but we would have limited slavery to a 40-hour work week, and we would be congratulating each other on the progress we had made.”

 

This timidity, Marty acknowledges, might be partially explained by decades of defeat at the hands of powerful financial interests and politicians beholden to those interests. But as a result, many politicians who espouse progressive change have retreated from a “politics of principle” to a “politics of pragmatism.”

 

Sen. Marty crisscrossed Minnesota to talk directly with citizens about what they need and want in health care. He has now proposed a universal health care system which he calls the Minnesota Health Plan. He’s distilled it into a small paperback book — Healing Health Care: The Case for a Commonsense Universal Health System. I asked him to write an essay for us summing up the plan’s basic principles and the case for it.”  — Bill Moyers

A CALL TO ACTION

By John Marty

 

Our health care system is broken.

 

We have some of the best health care available in the world, but one of the worst systems for accessing that care. We squander outstanding health care resources — providers, clinics and hospitals, medical research and technology — on a broken system that makes it difficult and expensive for many people to get the care they need.

 

Our health outcomes, including life expectancy and infant mortality, are worse than most other industrialized countries.

 

President Obama provided hope during his 2008 campaign, saying health care “should be a right for every American.” Unfortunately, he never proposed universal health care, though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a big step forward. It reduced the number of people without health coverage by almost half. It made a (in some cases, literally) lifesaving difference for millions of Americans.

 

However, even if the ACA were beefed up, it would always leave some people without coverage. In addition, health insurance does not equate to health care — millions of Americans who have insurance still cannot afford the care they need due to exclusions in coverage, copays and deductibles. And because it added even more complexity to our already convoluted insurance system, the ACA is easy to attack.

 

Republican attacks during the 2016 campaign were wrong; the ACA is not the cause of the problems in the system. Nor is it the solution, despite the good it did for many people.

 

Now that President Trump has blurted out that “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” we will watch the ironic efforts of Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act — an insurance-based plan, largely modeled on former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney’s “Romneycare,” which, in turn, was largely based on ideas from the conservative Heritage Foundation. We have Republicans attacking a Republican concept. It might be bizarre to watch, but lives are at stake.

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Featured Guest Commentary

Senator-John-Martyby Senator John Marty
March 3, 2017

Eight years ago the Legislative Commission on Ending Poverty by 2020 issued its final report. As the name of the commission indicates, the legislature recognized the scope of the problem would require an extended timeline for reaching the goal of ending poverty. Unfortunately, 2020 is rapidly approaching, yet little progress has been made. In some ways Minnesota is moving backwards.

 

As a co-chair of the former Poverty Commission, I call on Minnesotans to push the state forward and urge state leaders to adopt policies to move all Minnesotans out of poverty. I recently introduced the Moving Out of Poverty bill, SF 1318, which might be the single biggest step towards ending poverty that Minnesota has ever taken. Senate File 1318 would:

 

•  Establish a $15/hour minimum wage through a gradual five year phase-in ($13/hour for small businesses).

•  Strengthen the Working Family Tax Credit – more than doubling the tax credits that low income workers receive (making it equal to 75% of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit).

•  Fully fund the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) – so all low-income working parents can get quality, reliable childcare – and eliminating the multi-year waiting lists. In addition, by raising reimbursement rates (to cover costs of childcare at the 75th percentile of local providers), parents will have more options and can choose high-quality care, childcare workers will earn a decent wage, and providers can afford additional training in child development.

•  Provide a $300/month increase in the MN Family Investment Program (MFIP) grants. Payments in MFIP have not been increased in more than thirty years.

 

These investments in moving people out of poverty would be funded by closing the loophole in which high income earners are exempt from federal social security taxes on income over $126,000. Minnesota cannot change the federal social security law, but if the federal government is not going to collect this revenue from high income earners it is reasonable for the state to collect that revenue. High income earners would only be paying the same percentage of their income in social security taxes that every other Minnesota worker pays.

 

This Moving Out of Poverty legislation is bold. But it is not unreasonable and its provisions have strong public support.

 

The $15/hour minimum wage, with this gradual phase-in, would simply align Minnesota with laws in several other states and cities. Broad public support for a higher minimum wage is evident-all of the proposed minimum wage increases on the ballot in 2014 and 2016 passed, even in conservative states such as Arkansas, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

 

Eighty years ago in the New Deal, America made a social contract with its people that included a minimum wage: Workers will receive a minimum wage. It won’t make you rich, but you will have enough to afford necessities for your family-food, housing, clothing, medical care.

 

We are far from fulfilling that social contract. The scope of Minnesota’s poverty problem remains large with one of every three children living in families that struggle to make ends meet. One of every ten households has times where people go hungry because they have no money for food. There are working people who go “home” from their jobs to a homeless shelter at night because they cannot afford housing.

 

The minimum wage increase alone is not sufficient. Even at that level many workers will not be able to pay for basic needs, so the legislation I am proposing would more than double Minnesota’s Working Family Credit. This increase would provide a couple thousand dollars more to a single parent who earns only about $20,000 per year.

 

When parents are unable to work, Minnesotans have recognized the importance of providing financial support to help them survive. We know that children whose families cannot afford housing and food are robbed of their potential – we can measure how it inhibits their physical, mental, and emotional development.

 

Unfortunately, financial assistance payments in Minnesota have not increased since 1986. Inflation over those decades has taken its toll and those families are more stressed than ever. The proposed $300 per month increase would do much to stabilize the lives of these children.

 

Circumstances will always occur that bring people into poverty – if you lose your job, or your car breaks down, or you get hit with large medical bills – you may slip into poverty. When we talk about ending poverty, we cannot prevent people from falling into it, but we can help them move up and out of poverty quickly, so they are not trapped.

 

Ending poverty in Minnesota is an achievable goal if we have the political will to do so. This legislation would be a strong commitment towards fulfilling the goal of moving Minnesota out of poverty and helping all families thrive.

 

Copyright © 2017 Senator John Marty. All rights reserved. Reprinted here with permission from the author.

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Endorsing Ken Martin & Marge Hoffa for DFL Leadership

by Invenium Viam on February 23, 2017 · 0 comments

ken-margeAnd if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall,
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call ...
Go ask Alice, I think she'll know...
     White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane

In 2010, DFL losses to the GOP in the Tea Party wave at the polls that year were laid at the doorstep of then-Chair Brian Melendez and Vice (Associate) Chair Donna Cassutt.

 

I said at the time in a letter to the DFL-SCC that blaming the leadership for those losses was unfair, since no one predicted they were likely, or even possible, until just a few days before the election and because elections are not won or lost due to any single element: Be it party leadership at the time, how money is spent; how energized volunteers, candidates and the electorate are, etc. The outcome of an election is based on a collective of actions, events, influences and — perhaps the greatest unknown of all — the mood of the electorate. So I supported the re-election of Melendez and Cassutt. Members of the SCC felt differently, however. I respected their choice then and I respect it now.

 

Today, I feel the same way about the leadership of DFL Chair Ken Martin and Vice Chair Marge Hoffa. The DFL sustained losses in 2014 and 2016, to be sure, but Democrats across the country sustained losses. Pollsters, pundits, thought leaders and political leaders all misread the mood of the electorate. Subsequently, there was not a concerted effort of any kind by the vast majority of the political leadership to heal the divisions after the bitter endorsement contest between Clinton and Sanders. The feeling that Clinton was a sure winner obviated the need for fence-mending. Nor was there a studied read by the leadership on the left as to the reasons voters were supporting Trump, a phenomenon as much economic as cultural in origin. Instead, Trump’s base was generally dismissed by all the smart people with advanced degrees as “deplorables,” racists, misogynists, alt-right reactionaries, and the like. Undoubtedly, some of them were one or even all those things — but that doesn’t mean their economic and cultural anxieties don’t matter and that their votes don’t count. Except perhaps in the minds of those Moral Highgrounders among us who feel they can impose their personal litmus test of ideological purity on everyone around them, including other Democrats.

 

It’s human nature to look for causes outside of ourselves for our failings and upsets. It’s human nature to seek support from others in our fault-finding efforts. And it’s human nature to seek revenge on others for perceived slights and insults, some of which may even fester for many years. But regardless of whether these things are human nature, that doesn’t make them right. It takes a certain amount of maturity and character to strike the log from our own eye before pointing out the mote in our neighbor’s.

 

That’s my fundamental problem with the current race for DFL State Party Chair. I don’t find any real equanimity in judgment on either the broad spectrum of causes for our party’s losses — including the mood of the electorate — or why the current leadership should be exclusively held to blame for those losses. I also don’t find any real equanimity of judgment with regard to assessing the current leadership’s qualities of leadership: managerial effectiveness, record of achievement, fiduciary oversight, work ethic, etc. The message from the honorable opposition seems to be that we lost the Senate, lost more seats in the House, and lost most of those seats in the rural districts of Minnesota (which perennially feels neglected), and those losses embody an obvious indictment of the current leadership for incompetence or worse.

 

Well, I don’t buy it. I didn’t buy that argument in 2010 and I’m not buying it now. Besides, I’m not interested in looking to the past to deconstruct and litigate what went wrong, how it went wrong, and who’s to blame. My advice to fellow DFL’ers who are inclined to think someone has to pay for our losses — and that it ought to be Martin and Hoffa — is to chill with the whole whiney-butt sulking self-indulgence thing. I can make just as cogent an argument that those losses were due to millennials failing to show up at the polls in those elections. Why not blame them? How about this: Put your game face on and get back on the field. Or go sit on the bench. Or leave. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way — it’s your choice. But choose, please, and soon.

 

Is that “bullying” to say these things so bluntly? Well, forgive me. I didn’t go to Montessori School, I didn’t get a trophy for ‘participating’ in soccer, and no one — not even my sainted mother — cared a jot if my precious self-esteem might be injured by a critical remark. My soccer games as a kid were composed of as many as 20 bruisers on a side, with husky German and Polish farm boys facing tough Irish and Slavic sons of railroaders, meat-packers and miners. Our games were brutal, mostly without rules, and it was rare that a match ended without a split lip, a bloody nose, or a black eye — or even all three. No one complained and no one ever took thought of revenge for an insult or injury, or of finding a scapegoat to feed to the lions. We all knew instinctively that life was hard, adult life was harder still, and some of us were destined to fall on that long road to our Final Judgment in ways tragic and sad, in ways that taught us beyond any testament of faith that human beings were the subjects and creations of a hard and implacable God. Sorry if that offends your delicate sensibilities in upholding an ethos of genderlessness in our political discourse (itself a useful fiction for some), but I’m merely being honest about where I come from and who I am — and who I am not.

 

We have before us a golden opportunity to re-group, re-trench and counter-attack in this our endless struggle for peace, prosperity and justice for all. That’s what we should be doing instead of playing another round of these silly blame games. The Women’s March, the Indivisible Movement, the Immigrant’s Boycott, Black Lives Matter — all these signs and wonders indicate that there is a new spirit of activism among the shocked and confused voters across the political spectrum, which portends a new opportunity to engage the electorate in powerful and effective new ways. The salient questions for me, then, are these:

 

1. Who is best equipped — by temperament, by experience, by sound judgment, by effective action, by managerial strength — to lead this party to tap into those new energies and best exploit that new opportunity before us to recover from our losses and recapture the institutions of power?

2. Who is best able to heal the divides that currently exist within the party, as opposed to exploit them and aggravate them?

3. With a gubernatorial race now in the works — with many qualified and capable candidates having declared and still more likely to do so — who is best equipped by temperament, experience and judgment to manage an endorsement race with equanimity both in official conduct and in personal demeanor, a race that itself could become divisive and embittered and thereby affect the outcomes of other statewide and local races?

 

In my view, the clear choice is Ken Martin and Marge Hoffa. That’s how I’ll be voting on March 4. If my arguments have merit with you, I hope you’ll join me.

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Women’s March General Strike Set for March 8

by Invenium Viam on February 19, 2017 · 0 comments

General Strike

Sometimes, the right idea just comes along at just the right time.

 

On January 31, I floated the idea of a wide-scale walk-out organized by the leadership of the Women’s March as a way of keeping up the momentum and bringing focus onto women’s issues [Code Red Walk-out: A $50 Billion Dollar Slap-in-the-Face for Trump].

 

I figured the Pussygrabber-in-Chief needed a wake-up call.

 

At the same time, I sent out a boosted post from the MN Progressive Facebook page to try to get as broad a read of that article as possible, with the hopes that maybe someone would take notice and run it by the applicable forums, but which instead sent the RW trolls into grand mal seizures and hyper-colonic hemorrhagic spasms worthy of a US Army medical training film on the effects of terminal cholera among the third-world malnourished.

 

On February 6, the organizers of the Women’s March announced their intention to call a “General Strike: A Day Without A Woman,” pending the announcement of a date.

 

On Thursday, February 16, the leadership announced a date for their action, Wednesday, March 8, International Women’s Day. In an Instagram post announcing the date, they had this to say:

In the spirit of women and their allies coming together for love and liberation, we offer A Day Without A Woman. We ask: do businesses support our communities, or do they drain our communities? Do they strive for gender equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression? Do they align with a sustainable environment or do they profit off destruction and steal the futures of our children? We saw what happened when millions of us stood together in January, and now we know that our army of love greatly outnumbers the army of fear, greed and hatred. On March 8th, International Women’s Day, let’s unite again in our communities for A Day Without A Woman. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing more information on what actions on that day can look like for you. In the meantime, we are proud to support Strike4Democracy’s #F17 National Day of Action to Push Back Against Assaults on Democratic Principles. This Friday, February 17th, gather your friends, families, neighbors, and start brainstorming ideas for how you can enhance your community, stand up to this administration, integrate resistance and self-care into your daily routine, and how you will channel your efforts for good on March 8th. Remember: this is a marathon, not a sprint. #DayWithoutAWoman #WomensMarch

That Instagram post also produce a massive sh*t-storm of negative comments from many quarters including a fair sampling of antagonistic women.

 

Hey, guys, what’s with all the attitude? Women, and I presume supportive men, are going to take a day off work to kinda – you know – demonstrate that women have worth beyond what a cobble of pre-eminent white male racist-sexist-religionist knuckle-walkers in the White House and on Capitol Hill are willing to grant them.

 

What are you afraid of … that it might be successful? That political leaders and business leaders would be forced to take notice? Do you think that if women gain, men somehow will lose? Why wouldn’t it be just as likely that everybody gains and nobody loses? My advice is to put down your bananas, chill with the high-pitched anxiety displays, smooth down the guard hairs on your sagittal crests and maybe show some loving-kindness and some emotional support. You can start by sharing this post with your friends on your social media. And then maybe plan to take the day off on March 8 and attend a rally or two.

 

Whaddaya say? After all, these are your co-workers, your friends, your sisters, your lovers, your wives, your mothers, your teachers, your physicians, your …

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Invited Guest Commentary

by Invenium Viam on February 8, 2017 · 0 comments

Time to get on-board the ERA 3-State Strategy

ERA Betty
Betty Folliard is executive producer of A WOMAN’S PLACE radio show on AM950 and
the President of ERA Minnesota.

In the largest protest the world has ever seen, millions of people rallied at #WomensMarch around a common theme: that “Women’s rights are human rights.”

 

The public policy expressway to arriving at equality for all people in the US is legislation to remove the deadline on the Equal Rights Amendment, known as the 3-State Strategy, which will allow three more states to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), ratifying equal access to justice for all into our Constitution.

 

Our current patchwork laws do not hold up to the Supreme Court’s scrutiny because we do not have discrimination on the basis of gender named in our constitution. That can change by simply removing the artificial deadline imposed on women’s rights, and it can be done by a simple majority vote of Congress.

 

Now is the time to translate a ‘One-and-Done’ march into political action. Call, write, or tell your representatives to get on-board with the ERA 3-State Strategy.

 

Here’s what you need to reference:

  • At the FEDERAL LEVEL: S.J.Res.5 removes the artificial deadline imposed on the Equal Rights Amendment back in 1982; the chief author is Senator Ben Cardin; and H.J.Res.53 is the companion bill to remove the sunset on the ERA, by chief author Congresswoman Jackie Speier.
  • AT THE MINNESOTA STATE LEVEL: SF229 is a resolution memorializing Congress to remove the deadline on the ERA; chief author State Senator Sandy Pappas; and HF356 is companion bill to remove the sunset on the ERA; chief author State Representative Rena Moran.

There are also state and national efforts to pass ERA language into our constitutions. Here are the bills you can promote:

  • AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL: S.J.Res.6 is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women; chief author Senator Robert Menendez; and H.J.Res.33 is it’s companion bill – a constitutional amendment declaring that women shall have equal rights in the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction chief authored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
  • AT THE MINNESOTA STATE LEVEL: SF224 is a constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law, with chief author Senator Richard Cohen; with companion bill HF189 proposing a constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law with chief author State Representative Ilhan Omar. The mirror bills to those two are SF101, a state constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law chief, authored State Senator Scott Dibble; and HF313, a state constitutional amendment providing gender equality under the law, offered by chief author State Representative Frank Hornstein.

241 years is too long a time to wait for equality in America. Finish the job: help eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender by taking action today.

 

Betty Folliard
President – ERA Minnesota

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