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Sunday, February 22, 2015, the song Glory from the movie Selma won an Oscar, and the co-winners made brief speeches which addressed incarceration in this country, including an allusion to the inequality of that incarceration. The United States, land of the ‘Free’, has more people behind bars than anywhere else in the world. That is fact. The United States really DOES have more black people behind bars than were enslaved in the mid-19th century. That is also a fact.
 

ONLY in the fact-averse, reality-challenged delusions of the right wing bubble is the double standard we have in this country in question. It is extremely well documented, but of course, the same people on the crazy right who reject factual history courses reject the objective reality of incarceration past and present.
 

Perusing this right wing bubble, I was challenged to prove that there exists a different standard of justice for the wealthy, the privileged, and the majority of white people in this country.

 
I chose the following example of presidential wannabee, Jeb Bush and his family. Before and during his tenure as governor of Florida, Jeb Bush was a huge proponent of both private prisons and mandatory sentencing. If you were arrested, you went off to fill the quota that made private prisons so very profitable — and which put dollars in the pocket of Jeb Bush’s political campaigns.
 
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Net Neutrality Passes in 3-2 FCC Vote!

by Dog Gone on February 26, 2015 · 0 comments

Foolish conservatives, especially the conspiracy theory crowd, are blowing their hats in the air as their heads explode.

 

A special call out to the religious fool and zealot Pat Robertson, who sees a freaky non-existent government take over in this move. He must be having another one of his hallucinations, like the one he has that eating Halloween candy leads to demonic possession.

 

For the rest of us, this is GREAT NEWS!

 

A special thank you to our Senator Al Franken for championing this! The internet should be regulated as a utility (one which would be better with more competition).

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Houston County frac sand ban may be stumbling

by Dan Burns on February 26, 2015 · 0 comments

frackingIt’s unfortunate that this is not surprising.
 

Last week, Houston County commissioners voted unanimously to send a bill banning frac sand mining to the county attorney. However, at their meeting on Tuesday, a few commissioners appeared to rethink their position on the issue.
 
The county attorney discussed his findings on the ban on Tuesday with the board and said the ban could be passed and defended in court. However, some commissioners wanted to tone down the proposed ban, despite voting for the ban in the last meeting.
(KTTC)

I’m not going to openly speculate on what kinds of pressures are perhaps being brought to bear. The following has all the background.
 

Grassroots organizing by ordinary citizens in a southeastern Minnesota county has resulted in a stunning vote by the Houston County Board of Commissioners to essentially ban silica sand mining for purposes other than local construction and agriculture.
 
It’s a stunning counterpoint to the “informational hearing” that the Minnesota House Mining and Outdoor Recreation Committee held in St. Paul earlier this year in which only mining interests were first invited to speak.
(Bluestem Prairie)

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Class and consistency from Minnesota legislators

by Dan Burns on February 25, 2015 · 0 comments

mncapitol2The past couple of years, there wasn’t cause for these kinds of posts on a frequent basis, because the legislative sessions were mostly worthwhile endeavors with positive results. Now, though, there’s a GOP majority in the House.
 

Well, the legislature has effectively quashed the Commissioner pay raises. The dutiful “watchdogs” saved the taxpayers the tidy sum of $800,000 and pretty much locked those salaries in place forever.
 
Its an easy political target. Salaries for government officials make great optics when you can compare them to salaries for the average Minnesotan. Another symbolic victory for politicians.
 
But if that is the case, then why didn’t the pay raises of some of the Republican legislative staff raise some eyebrows?
(mnpACT!)

New bill introductions are up to over 1000 now, and the vast majority won’t get past an initial committeee assignment. Just noting that.
 

The House’s rural-urban divide took a big city vs. suburban turn Wednesday with the House Transportation Policy and Finance Committee giving its OK to a bill that would reallocate millions of dollars in sales tax revenue to all but the state’s two most populous counties.
 
HF710, sponsored by Rep. Jon Koznick (R-Lakeville), would move $32 million in sales tax collected on motor vehicle leases from the General Fund and put it toward Greater Minnesota transit and to the County State-Aid Highway Fund for use on metro area roads – except in Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
(TC Daily Planet/Session Daily)

Here are the facts on where money for roads has been coming from. Note where the only dark blue spot in the top map is at.
 

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Keystone XL – Done and Dusted! Obama vetoes!

by Dog Gone on February 24, 2015 · 0 comments

He did it, Obama has vetoed the evil Keystone XL pipeline!
 
Well done, Mr. President! A long awaited victory over big, bad oil, with all the corruption and destruction that accompany it.
 

 

oil pipeline explosion


 

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Why would anyone join ISIS?

by Dog Gone on February 24, 2015 · 0 comments

torture photo from Abu Ghraib late 2003

The radical right has made the same claim as Dubya does below — that we’re hated for our freedoms.

 

That is not true; no one hates us for being free.

 

It is a propaganda lie for the stupid and gullible.  It is part of the same mind-set that wants to eliminate AP History for taking on our failings in the past and present head on, honestly, while still loving our country.

 

It is the same mindset as that expressed by Rudy Guiliani when he claimed Obama does not love America.

 

It is wrong. It is wilfully blind, and it is profoundly dishonest.

 

Sooner or later, we always have to come to terms with what we, as a nation, have done wrong, or allowed or encouraged to be done wrong, in our name and with our consent, including cover ups.
 

 
THIS described below, and other abuses like it, is why we have been hated, not our ‘freedoms’.  This and other abuses, including some aspects of our drone policy and much of our policy in Iraq and Gitmo is why we see so many parts of the Iraq joining up with ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.  It is why people leave other countries and go to fight with ISIS.  It is why religion and religious government appear to offer an attractive alternative to our democracy.
 
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isil-300x162You’ve probably seen that we’re all supposed to freak out, because ISIS is going to attack the Mall of America. At first, I chalked it up to just a particularly annoying manifestation of corporate media’s near-universal approach, particularly with broadcast/cable news: hook ‘em with crass sensationalism, then lay on the corporate propaganda. The following involves a different context, but it nails the style.
 

You know, climate change is actually a very interesting subject with a lot of very strange potential implications. It also plays right into the entire reason most national news shows exist, which is to send their viewers into spasms of panic over all of the things in the world that are going to kill them at any given moment. It is equal parts natural disaster, suicide bomber, space invasion and political thriller. If Fox News were on board with climate change, they would have their viewers in a quivering mass on the subject within days. Advertisers would love it, because Buy Overpriced Gold. The NRA would be giddy over the implications because it means your children and grandchildren might get to blast some folks. Climate change is like ebola plus measles plus incoming freaking asteroid impact, and if you can’t make that exciting in a high-production-values network news format you are really not trying very hard.
(Daily Kos)

But then it was, like, hey, wait a minute…with the showdown over Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding, won’t this approach, in this specific context, potentially reflect badly on Republicans? What the heck?!
 

It’s actually so obvious that I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me a little while to figure it out. It’s supposed to reflect badly on those who would put DHS funding at risk. Because for corporate America, the DHS is a gold mine, and it all depends on Americans continuing to see terrorism as a big threat to them personally. Despite the reality that you’re far more likely to “get it” in just about any other way that you can think of.
 

All of the preceding is just for those who think about it, anyway; many lifelong viewers of broadcast news for the most part simply watch out of (bad) habit, without any substantive effort at deeper cogitation. Why bother, you know? And there are times that I can relate, a little. I’m also not suggesting that corporate media bias actually makes much difference; if it could really swing elections, for example, President McCain would be in his second term, and Minnesota would have U.S. Reps. Torrey Westrom and Stewart Mills III. Most of those influenced by the skew are voting Republican in any case. But it is nonetheless not journalism. I get that most of the people in the trenches would rather be doing journalism, but the honchos have other ideas.
 

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Another famous New Yorker, Yogi Berra, once said, “We may be lost but we’re making good time.” That pretty much sums up the current state of Rudy Giuliani’s political reality and doesn’t bode well for his future.

 

When it comes to Rudy Giuliani, I want to be upfront from the start. I’ve lived in New York City most of my adult life and I have greatly benefited from having lived here. I voted for Rudy Giuliani every time he ran for mayor. He used to live around the corner and down the block from where I’ve lived for the past 30 years. I had the misfortune, one weekend evening, of sitting two tables away from the Giuliani family in an Upper Eastside restaurant. I was more than taken aback when the man who had rid the streets of “squeegee pests” along with high and low priced hookers couldn’t control his own children as they ran riot about the dining floor. Giuliani was as oblivious to his children’s behavior as he was to the displeasure they caused the patrons trying to enjoy dinner that evening.

 

If you’re not a New Yorker of long standing or one who has resided in the greater metropolitan area for a number of years your opinion of Rudy Giuliani is more likely than not a function of your memories of the September 11 terror attack and his response thereto, which was undoubtedly heroic. His performance in the aftermath of 9/11 led many media pundits to portray Giuliani as an “American Churchill”, something my British friends, both liberal and conservative, roundly derided. However’ if you’ve been here awhile you know full well that the day before 9/11/2001 Rudy Giuliani was pretty much a political has been, having sunk to the level of a political afterthought. He was perceived, socially, as a bit of a buffoon. Prior to 9/11, Mayor Giuliani had made a spectacle of himself, in an unflattering way, by openly discussing his failed marriage in public even before he had completely done so privately with his wife. This was an affront to polite society in particular and viewed with disdain by the public generally. Thus in many ways his latest attack on the persona of Barack Obama is best viewed as Giuliani running true to form. In other words, Rudy Giuliani has regressed to his personal political mean.

 
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This guy wants to be president first repeat champion

by Eric Ferguson on February 23, 2015 · 0 comments

clowncarBobby Jindal is our first repeat champion. Here’s a long read on how Jindal screwed up Louisiana, albeit with a complicit GOP legislature. Even conservatives with a last dreg of pragmatism are recognizing what a disaster he’s been.
 

If Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign goes anywhere, it will not be because of his record governing Louisiana, but in spite of it. He was first elected as a conservative, clean-government technocrat, and brought a lot of hope to many Louisianians. One of them wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed column about it right after Jindal’s win. Excerpt:
 

[T]his election makes me proud and hopeful… . Yes, I’m fully aware that Louisiana is bound to break your heart. … [But] I think [Jindal’s] going to write the next great Louisiana story. Maybe just this once, it’s not going to be a farce.

 
That columnist was me, the fool.

 

Next up, Scott Walker can’t tell if President Obama is a Christian. He wants to blame the press, naturally, for asking gotcha questions. He wants to pretend he’s not part of a party where questions like whether Obama is a Christian or whether he loves America are serious topics. Instead, Walker chooses to dodge like a birther pretending he hasn’t seen the birth certificate or like, well, himself avoiding answering questions at a forum in London. I guess no one told him this isn’t like dodging the state press when you’re governor. If a presidential candidate keeps dodging questions, the dodging becomes a story.

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Homeland Security is announcing another round of data regarding the radical right, including the sovereign citizen movement, causing a round of exploding heads inside their tinfoil hats. At the same time, regional Islamist terrorists from the horn of Africa, al Shibab, is threatening an attack on the Mall of America like the one in Kenya.

 

I’ve been taking the time to observe some of the propaganda from the far right wing bubble, as it gins up the anger of the teabagger …….what is the opposite of elite?  Lowest common denominator might fit, but not well, but it comes closer to the drooling and gullible sheeple that form a significant hard core demographic of the base.

 

It has been written that the consumers of Fox News and the rest of the right wind dis-information machine are not so much UN-informed, which can be said of those who do not bother with following any current events or issues, at any level (local, state, or national), but rather that they are MIS-informed.

 

Plenty of ink has been spilled in documenting that the right wing, especially the far right wng, is angry, all the time, and distrustful of government.  That is not accidental, it is not spontaneous in origin, it is not organic. IT IS CONTRIVED, FOMENTED, DELIBERATELY CREATED ANGER, DISTRUST, AND POLARIZED BEYOND RECONCILLIATION.

 

THAT is toxic and destructive to any democratic form of government of the people, by the people and for the people.  We can not have functional government so long as we have wilfully and deliberately ignorant people operating not to participate in governing, but intent on destruction or overthrow of our institutions, principles, and our very government itself, driven by that deliberately cultivated fear and ignorance.

 
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