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Donald Trump

trump18Yeah, can’t wait.
 

Donald Trump will make his first visit to Minnesota as president next week for a rally in Duluth, the battleground for the open and highly competitive 8th Congressional District seat.
 
Trump will come to Duluth June 20, his campaign announced Monday.
(MPR)

It is instructive to consider what just happened in one of our neighboring states. (The author’s home blog is Dakota Free Press.)
 

Lots of votes in South Dakota suggested a skin-deep weakness to Trumpism in our rural corner of Trumplandia. Neal Tapio demonstrated most vividly that the only guy who can turn Trumpism into votes is the unique monster that is Donald Trump. Trump wasn’t on any South Dakota ballot Tuesday, and Trumpism helped few if any candidates win.
(Daily Kos)

Some people, including (especially?) in corporate media, still can’t seem to get their heads around the possibility that a huge chunk of the citizenry really does have a problem with racist, misogynistic, horrifically corrupt, easily played and suckered, traitorous filth in the White House. But that’s their problem.
 
Update: In support of that last part, a Democrat accomplished yet another 20+ point swing for a state legislative special election win, yesterday, in Wisconsin.
 

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Newly emboldened Twin Metals plows ahead

by Dan Burns on June 11, 2018 · 0 comments

bwcaTwin Metals wants to create a big sulfide mine right next to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It is a truly terrible idea, in every way, and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton seemed to have more or less killed the project when he publicly agreed with that assessment. But things have changed. First, the Trump administration reversed an Obama call and renewed the leases last month. And now the planners are a hive of busy bees indeed.
 

Twin Metals, the company planning to build an underground copper-nickel mine near Ely, Minn., said (May 24) it will open an office in Babbitt and wants to locate its processing facility east of Birch Lake…
 
Twin Metals officials said plans to locate the processing site east of Birch Lake differs from previous proposals. Before, the company had planned to build it south of the Ely airport and west of Birch Lake. Company officials said mine employees will access the underground mine from the processing site. The facility would be built on about 100 acres of land owned by Twin Metals.
(MPR)

The real power behind this is mining giant Antofagasta. This notes its billionaire owner’s suspicious tie to the current presidential administration, and also has more on the lease thing. The fact that it took the “election” of Trump to bring Twin Metals back from the dead should give anyone pause.
 

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trump33I know that this sort of thing is getting tiresome, but it’s still very relevant.
 

The most obvious casualty of that earlier round of threats was US farmers, who stood to lose a enormous portion of their export market. Then Trump declared that the problem had been solved, when a week ago China and the US supposedly reached a broad agreement that would see China buy more instead of less. So much more that, according to Trump, China would buy “practically as much as our Farmers can produce.” However, everything from last week now seems to be out the window, and Trump is once again promising a “final list” of items to face tariffs. Farmers are once again the most likely to immediately suffer from any retaliation.
(Daily Kos)

Also note that Minnesota Senate District 13 is farm country.
 

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Maybe we should just let Trump take credit for Korea

by Eric Ferguson on April 28, 2018 · 1 comment

Screen grab from the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) shows Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in shaking hands at  Panmunjom.

Screen grab from the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) shows Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in shaking hands at Panmunjom.

Sure, it’s annoying when Trump claims credit for something he didn’t do, much like when Trump incoherently claimed credit for the Pyeongchang Olympics, and, it should be predictable if you’re paying any attention, Trump now wants to claim credit for North and South Korea talking peace.

 

Sure, here in the reality-based community, it’s hard to forget it was just last Winter that the offer by the North to talk peace with the South was supposed to be just an attempt to “drive a wedge” between South Korea and the US. If this is what driving a wedge looks like, drive away! Korea has been one of places World War III is most likely to break out ever since the country was divided after World War II. If they’re going to talk about formally ending the war and demilitarizing the border, the best thing we could hope for is Trump shuts up and gets out of the way.
 

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veterans3Is he consciously telling the whole truth and nothing but? Does it matter, if he‘s pretty much just a puppet anyway? Per the article, some remain skeptical, and I don’t blame them.
 

Democratic senators who have met with White House physician Ronny Jackson, the President’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, have made clear that privatization of veterans’ medical care is a red line for them.
 
If Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy, supports privatization, they won’t back his nomination. So far, they say, Jackson has signaled emphatically that he doesn’t support it.
(CNN)

Update: Proverbial skeletons in the closet have become manifest, and Jackson’s nomination appears to be in big trouble. And Trump isn’t handling it well.
 

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Does anyone know Trump’s goal in Syria?

by Eric Ferguson on April 20, 2018 · 1 comment

Do the general dress Trump like this to make him feel more manly when sitting in front of the Big Board?

Do the generals dress Trump like this to make him feel more manly when sitting in front of the Big Board (that’s a Doctor Strangelove reference)?

When I ask if anyone knows Trump’s goal in Syria, that begs the question, does Trump know? Don’t think too hard. The fact Trump hasn’t laid out the goal strongly suggests he has no idea. We might also gather that as most likely because this is Trump. Remember Trump’s Razor: the stupidest explanation is most likely to be right. That causes me to conclude the fake field marshall hasn’t the first clue.

 

Sure, you can make guesses as to the goal in Syria. Feel free. Say whatever you infer the goal to be, but I have my response already: you’re inferring, so you don’t really know (though FWIW, this seems plausible, that #RPOTUS wants to make it look like his tweets mean something, and maybe keep Fox New viewers happy).

 
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Manure_spreader_Record_2When Republicans do well in elections in Minnesota, it’s generally because outstate DFLers didn’t vote. It seems like many only do vote when they’re angry, anxious, really disgusted, etc.
 

The president of the American Soybean Association (ASA) issued a scathing statement Wednesday in response to Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China that suggests just how “devastating” Trump’s offensive could be at the polls in November.
 
“It should surprise no one that China immediately retaliated against our most important exports, including soybeans. We have been warning the administration and members of Congress that this would happen since the prospect for tariffs was raised,” ASA President and Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer said, adding that China’s plan to impose 25 percent levies on soybeans would be “devastating” to American soybean farmers.
(Daily Kos)

It’s probably more likely than not that something will get worked out before the next harvest. But in any case uncertainty makes it harder to get loans and so forth. And the last thing a lot of farmers need is more stress.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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A foreboding change at the VA

by Dan Burns on March 29, 2018 · 0 comments

Well, it’s not Fox half-wit Pete Hegseth (cf. four posts down on this page), at least not yet, but it is someone similarly unqualified by any valid standard – though highly skilled at smooching Donald Trump’s butt.
 

President Trump has chosen his doctor, Ronny Jackson—the man who went on TV to publicly affirm that the president’s brain is not a bowl of rotting peas—to be his new Secretary of Veterans Affairs. And now, we have confirmation from an anonymous White House official that Jackson got the job in part because of just how well he went on TV and said yes, the president’s brain is good.
 
According to CNN, “Trump liked the way Jackson handled himself with reporters” when he gave a press conference on the results of the president’s physical, which included his insistence that the president is NOT obese and that his brain is NOT falling apart like a cake left in the rain, but instead is Normal. At the press conference, Jackson said he had “no reason whatsoever to think that the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process.”
(Splinter)

Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin used an op-ed late Wednesday to blast “the environment in Washington” that “has turned so toxic, chaotic, disrespectful and subversive that it became impossible for me to accomplish the important work” of his job.
(CNN)

Looking at what came up when I did an online search right now, corporate media is generally spinning this as being mostly about a pricey jaunt Shulkin took on the taxpayers’ dime. In other words, they’re largely downplaying the reality, which is that Shulkin is gone because he was seen as an obstacle to the greedheads’ plans to start strip-mining veterans’ medical care for profit, ASAP.
 

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trump18For some reason I just can’t get enough of people effectively bashing corporate media, these days.
 

This is going to turn into one of those things like the Iraq War, no doubt, where a great many people who do not have columns in the New York Times are all pointing out the looming catastrophe in real time but it is only after every prediction is proven right that the important wags in the papers and in Congress begrudgingly start to admit that no, flagrant lying in service of plainly crooked ends was not merely a side note to the story, but the whole damn story. They will then congratulate their boldness in coming to this conclusion, while pretending there was no possible way anyone could have predicted that Trump was in up to his strangely puffy eyeballs in Russian conspiracies, and in-office bribe-seeking, and the remnants of the Republican Party will act concerned and surprised for exactly as long as it takes to convince dullards they’re very sorry for all of that, rinse, repeat.
(Daily Kos)

I admit that on the whole c. media hasn’t entirely been quite as bad as I expected, in the matter of automatically downplaying Trump’s most egregious sayings and doings. But all in all they have still been constantly plumbing atrocious new depths of false equivalence, just like during the campaign.
 

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Trump, Kim Jong-un, and Twitter

by Dan Burns on March 9, 2018 · 0 comments

trump13Pr*sident Donald Trump apparently plans to personally meet with North Korean President Kim Jong-un. (North Korea has been trying to get one of these summit-type meetings with a US president going back to Clinton. The intent is to try to help establish world legitimacy for the regime. Not even W. went for it. Once someone explains that, and other matters, to Trump, it seems unlikely that this encounter will actually happen.) I did something I very rarely do: took some time on Twitter to view reactions. MN Progressive Project follows 3,463, by no means all left/progressive, so I presumably saw a somewhat representative sample. Significant categories included:
 

– Quips referencing Dennis Rodman. Most were mildly amusing, none lol-funny;
 
– Suggestions that Trump and KJU will become bosom buddies, what with both being deranged egomaniacs, and that Putin is somehow involved;
 
– Suggestions, entirely valid if you ask me, that KJU will “play” Trump like a grand piano;
 
– Re-posting old Trump tweets about the foolishness of trying to negotiate with “Little Rocket Man.”
 
Which brings me to a big study about Twitter that just appeared. My tendency has been to discount the real influence of social media on voting. That could be a mistake.
 

“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it,” Jonathan Swift once wrote.
 
It was hyperbole three centuries ago. But it is a factual description of social media, according to an ambitious and first-of-its-kind study published Thursday in Science.
 
The massive new study analyzes every major contested news story in English across the span of Twitter’s existence—some 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users, over more than 10 years—and finds that the truth simply cannot compete with hoax and rumor. By every common metric, falsehood consistently dominates the truth on Twitter, the study finds: Fake news and false rumors reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories.
 
“It seems to be pretty clear [from our study] that false information outperforms true information,” said Soroush Vosoughi, a data scientist at MIT who has studied fake news since 2013 and who led this study. “And that is not just because of bots. It might have something to do with human nature.”
(The Atlantic)

(I don’t think the original publication in Science is paywalled, but I do think you have to sign up to access it, so they can send you emails. That’s how it worked for me when I first read something there online, a few years ago. I now get a weekly list of suggested articles on Saturday mornings, and sporadic emails inviting me to go for a subscription to the actual magazine. In any case, I’m sure that original is pretty dense and data-heavy to plow through. There‘s a link in the quoted article.)
 

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