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66758002I got an email from the Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund which alerted me to the following.
 

(Wednesday) afternoon, Minnesota House Republicans heard a health care reinsurance bill (HF1128) that relies on junk science and misinformation to reduce access to contraception by miscategorizing IUDs and Emergency Contraception as “abortifacients.” This couldn’t be further from reality.

 
Here’s the online front page for HF1128, which appears to be part of the Minnesota Party of Trump’s effort to “repeal and replace” the ACA/MNsure in the state. The noted language is on the bill text page, lines 8.26-8.31. The email includes this link, debunking the “abortifacients” claim.
 
On the same general topic, this is well worth clicking and reading.
 

The anti-choice myth that community health centers could easily fill in for Planned Parenthood if the reproductive health-care provider loses federal funding has become pervasive among conservatives hoping to justify defunding the organization. It’s a claim that has been repeated by anti-choice organizations and politicians alike—and when it goes unchecked, it stands to perpetuate a falsehood that could have harmful consequences. Should the federal government strip reproductive health-care clinics from its funding programs, it will be devastating for millions of people who rely on such providers, not always just for reproductive care.
(Rewire)

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MN lege: When will the crazy end? Part 2

by Dan Burns on February 22, 2017 · 0 comments

mn_capitolMore from our merry crew of emboldened, even giddy, right-wingnuts.
 

House file 702 and Senate file 695 would give powerful interests that oppose water quality standards the ability to force Administrative Law Judges and the Court of Appeals to conduct an independent “do-over” of rulemaking based on their own determinations about which scientific issues and data matter.
 
These bills
– ask judges with no subject matter expertise to do the complex work of expert career agency scientists,
– duplicate the rulemaking process and increase the cost, delay and uncertainty of developing water quality standards, and
– significantly undermine public input into rulemaking and agency transparency to the public.
(Friends of the Mississippi River)

Regarding the following, it won’t shock me if the federal money is “redirected.” But probably not as the noted legislators have in mind. More military spending and more tax cut handouts for the 1% are far more likely.
 

A pair of Republican state lawmakers announced a resolution to the Secretary of Transportation requesting $929 million in federal funding for Southwest Light Rail Transit be redirected to other transportation projects in Minnesota.
 
Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) and Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines) would rather see that money go toward roads and bridges across the state than to one transit project they say wouldn’t benefit most Minnesotans.
(Fox 9)

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Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 16

by Dan Burns on February 22, 2017 · 0 comments

trump13The great man will guide us through these complex and changing times with a steady hand and a calm, competent head. Sure thing.
 

In fact, it smacks of McCarthyism. Trump is trying to minimize the information coming out of the various intelligence agencies as illegal politicized leaks…
 
It is part of this ongoing effort to discredit inside information sources. Trump is working on minimizing the press. He is questioning the motives of protesters. And now, he is going to attempt to discredit the people who could release damaging information about what he has done and plans to do.
 
If anyone is questioning the idea that Trump is moving into an authoritarian transition in this country, that question is being answered.
(mnpACT!)

These are chaotic and anxious days inside the National Security Council, the traditional center of management for a president’s dealings with an uncertain world.
 
Three weeks into the Trump administration, council staff members get up in the morning, read President Trump’s Twitter posts and struggle to make policy to fit them. Most are kept in the dark about what Mr. Trump tells foreign leaders in his phone calls. Some staff members have turned to encrypted communications to talk with their colleagues, after hearing that Mr. Trump’s top advisers are considering an “insider threat” program that could result in monitoring cellphones and emails for leaks…
 
And while Mr. Obama liked policy option papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, council staff members are now being told to keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps.
 
“The president likes maps,” one official said.
(New York Times)

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Corporate media, anti-poverty programs, and race

by Dan Burns on February 20, 2017 · 0 comments

mediaLast Friday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reprinted an article from the Washington Post titled “Whites benefit most from government safety nets.” Here’s the Strib link. In the print edition, it was at the top of page A2, and got blurbed above the fold under “Top News” on page A1. It’s based on a study called “Poverty Reduction Programs Help Adults Lacking College Degrees the Most.”
 

People of all races and ethnic groups who lack a bachelor’s degree receive significant help from the safety net, but on two significant metrics, the results for white working-age adults stand out. Among working-age adults without a college degree, 6.2 million whites are lifted above the poverty line by the safety net — more than any other racial or ethnic group. (See Figure 1.) In addition, the percentage of people who would otherwise be poor that safety net programs lift out of poverty is greater for white working-age adults without a college degree than for other adults without a college degree. Still, poverty rates among people without a college degree are substantially higher for blacks and Hispanics than for whites — whether or not safety net assistance is considered.
 
These findings are particularly noteworthy because the election has brought increased attention to the economic difficulties that people without a college degree can face. Largely overlooked in the discussion of these issues to date, however, is the fact that the nation’s poverty reduction programs provide extensive support to adults lacking a college degree, including working-class whites, and that such people would be the principal losers under various proposals to cut these programs that may emerge in coming months.
(Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

(As is often not the case with right-wing propaganda mills, the CBPP describes its methodology in detail. Of course, when you have facts, intelligence, and integrity on your side, you can be a lot more comfortable doing that. )
 
What I find interesting is that the CBPP article, from the title on down, is primarily about how differences in educational attainment affect use of, and benefits from, government aid for the poor. Corporate media is spinning it here to emphasize the racial differences, in a way that directly contradicts the African-American, inner-city “welfare queen” narrative that has been such a key part of right-wing propaganda going back to the Reagan era. And they’re doing this in the context of the openly racist Trump presidency.
 
For purposes of political hyperbole I sometimes characterize corporate media as all about just pandering and propagandizing to conservatives. It’s really more complicated than that. Among other things, they don’t want to lose paying customers whatever their political views, which can and often does lead to strange and erratic juxtapositions and so forth.
 
But maybe this is evidence (and it’s far from the only piece, since Trump’s “election”) of something of a shifting agenda here, what with Trump’s pitiful approval rating – historically low for a new presidency, which usually gets a “honeymoon” – and his own attacks on and threats against corporate media. We’ll see.
 

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Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 15

by Dan Burns on February 20, 2017 · 0 comments

devos2Though it’s certainly possible, we probably can’t count on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos getting caught up in this Russia thing.
 

Levy’s observations are confirmed by my report on how the “school choice” issue, so beloved by big-money Republicans, is hitting opposition from red state rural Americans. Rural schools across the country face formidable problems including high dropout rates, low academic performance, and lousy funding. None of these problems will be solved by creating more charter schools and using vouchers to siphon off even more students and resources. In fact, that option will only make things worse.
 
So the unprecedented opposition to DeVos is more about a struggle over the soul—at least an education soul—of America. And regardless of how the vote turns out, this fight is not about to end.
(Jeff Bryant/OurFuture.org)

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Still Rootin’ For Putin

by Bill Prendergast on February 16, 2017 · 0 comments

Y IMG_1581

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MN lege: When will the crazy end?

by Dan Burns on February 16, 2017 · 1 comment

minnesota_state_capitolSome of the dumb sh*t that right-wing legislators from the Minnesota Party of Trump have been hard at work on.
 

In a 76-49 vote on (Feb. 9), the Minnesota House of Representatives passed H.F.235, a bill that would eliminate the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.
 
Launched in 2013, the 10-year incentive program helps residents, businesses and communities fund new solar PV and solar thermal systems whose equipment is certified as manufactured in Minnesota.
(Solar Industry)

This next one is basically about ending any liability for extremist kooks who booby-trap their property in anticipation of attacks from Obama’s hordes of ISIS Muslims. And pandering to fans of “survivalists” and the like on “reality” TV.
 

HF985, sponsored by Rep. Dan Fabian (R-Roseau), would prevent, in most cases, landowners from owing a “duty of care” to people who venture onto private property without permission…
 
Rep. Andrew Carlson (DFL-Bloomington) attacked the bill as a product the American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC, an organization dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism…
 
Rep. Debra Hilstrom (DFL-Brooklyn Center) warned that HF985 would freeze existing common law in statute, making it impossible for Republican proponents to expand protections for property owners in the future.
(Session Daily)

Comment below fold.
 
…READ MORE

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Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 14

by Dan Burns on February 16, 2017 · 0 comments

trump8It’s readily apparent that the GOP discombobulating over how to accomplish its fervent promises of Obamacare repeal is being driven mostly by pressure from the medical-industrial complex. The latter basically wrote the ACA for themselves, after all, in an effort to stem any drive toward Medicare for all, which has strong public support. But that doesn’t mean anyone benefiting from Obamacare, and many are, should be feeling confident that it will stay that way.
 

The Trump administration, with Obamacare-hater Tom Price now ensconced at the head of Health and Human Services, is proposing a rule that they say would stabilize Obamacare markets. The proposed rules aren’t exactly the draft rules leaked last week, but are easily as damaging. These new regulations would allow insurance companies to sell plans with higher deductibles and narrower networks and reduce the subsidies that low- and middle-income families get to purchase insurance. Yes, higher out-of-pocket costs and less help buying insurance. For the people that have the hardest time affording insurance and medical care.
(Daily Kos)

Here is analysis of what ACA repeal would cost each state, including Minnesota, in coverage and jobs.
 

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MN lege: Some pro-women legislation

by Dan Burns on February 15, 2017 · 0 comments

declarationThe Minnesota NOW e-newsletter, to which you can subscribe on their website, drew my attention to some worthy proposals. They probably won’t get far this session, but it’s good to spread the word anyway. Stuff like this really reinforces the need to get things turned around in the matter of voter participation. I’ve added links to the legislative web pages.
 

The Comprehensive Contraception Act will work to increase access to birth control by requiring health plans and public health care programs to cover a 12-month supply of prescription contraceptives and requiring health plans to cover all contraceptive methods, sterilization, and related medical services, patient education, and counseling.
 
The Protect Physicians’ Integrity Act removes barriers to abortion care by authorizing health care providers to provide patients with health information and services that are medically accurate, evidence-based, and appropriate for the patient, and by repealing informed consent requirements.

In my estimation, it’s misguided to characterize women who voted for Trump, and unfortunately there were a lot of them, as just mindlessly submissive and self-abasing. That won’t help get them to see the error of their ways. They had their reasons…not good reasons, by any rational standard, but they weren’t grounded in some kind of complete deficiency of self-respect. They honestly thought they were making the better choice.
 

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OMG, It’s BECAUSE of the Hair!

by Bill Prendergast on February 11, 2017 · 0 comments

IMG_1561

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