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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.


Legalizing marijuana in Minnesota

by Dan Burns on February 14, 2017 · 0 comments

imagesqtbnANd9GcSZspAVD2tLmnO6nfzr8GRRrcxptdR9GGJhQgVDlYnCtVzbgJ5ykQMinnesota unfortunately is not likely to be the next state to “legalize it.” Currently there is a GOP legislature, and Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL), for all of his excellence on many other issues, is not progressive when it comes to drug law reform. More fundamentally, the drug is simply not as widely popular here as it is in some other parts of the country. But when it comes to trying to put an end to destroying people’s lives over what is far and away the least harmful (note that I didn’t type “harmless”) mood-altering chemical I’ve used, and that includes plenty of alcohol, there’s never any reason for righteous people not to try.

FOX 9 reports that Rep. Applebaum believes his proposal is in-step with what most Americans think about pot.
“The world is changing, and Minnesotans are rightfully developing different attitudes on marijuana,” Rep. (Jon) Applebaum (DFL-Minnetonka) said. “Other states’ successes, along with the failed prohibition attempts of others, have validated the need for a statewide conversation on legalizing the personal, recreational use of marijuana.”
A fellow Democrat, Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), also thinks it’s high time their state went recreational. On Wednesday, she proposed another, separate bill to legalize marijuana through a constitutional amendment.
“My bill would let citizens decide whether it is time to try a different path—one already successfully paved by many other states,” she said in the FOX 9 report.
(The Weed Blog)


Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 13

by Dan Burns on February 13, 2017 · 2 comments

greed2Older voters of course went heavily for Trump. And Trump voters – actually, right-wing voters in general – pretty obviously aren’t given to thinking things through.

Insurers would have more leeway to vary prices by age, so that premiums for the oldest customers could be 3.49 times as large as those for younger customers. Today, premiums for the old can be only three times as high as premiums for the young, which is what the Affordable Care Act stipulates. According to sources privy to HHS discussions with insurers, officials would argue that since 3.49 “rounds down” to three, the change would still comply with the statute.
(Huffington Post)

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OMG, It’s BECAUSE of the Hair!

by Bill Prendergast on February 11, 2017 · 0 comments



MN-03: Rep. Paulsen ducks his constituents

by Dan Burns on February 10, 2017 · 1 comment

paulsen2Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) has always embodied the very essence of corporate Republicanism.

After campaigning to repeal and replace ObamaCare, Rep. Erik Paulsen now is tasked with how to do it —- and his constituents want to know what he’s going to do. However, like many Republicans across the country, Paulsen is avoiding public face-to-face meetings with constituents — and that brought protesters to his office on (February 4)…
Protesters say Paulsen’s lack of holding face-to-face town hall meetings is not a change, but the norm. They say he hasn’t held a publicized face-to-face town hall meeting with constituents in seven years. That’s not quite accurate. Paulsen did have a town hall meeting in August 2010 — six-and-a-half-years ago. And video shows he took questions from constituents at Mound-Westonka High School in 2011. A search of Paulsen’s current website finds only the 2010 meeting listed. The UpTake has asked Paulsen’s office for a list of any other such public town hall meetings, but so far they have not replied.
(The Uptake)

I find myself wondering, just a bit, what Rep. Paulsen really thinks of the reality of “President” Trump. Deep concern over a voter backlash? A chance to get some of his pet issues, like more handouts for Big Device, advanced, and therefore better positioning for his lucrative post-Congress lobbying gigs? Any measure at all of the embarrassment and disgust that every American of enlightened sensibility feels?
Heck if I know.
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Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 12

by Dan Burns on February 10, 2017 · 1 comment

greedFrom the guy who ran on doing right by the working class.

Donald Trump rolled out his latest executive action (February 3), and it’s a huge handout to the financial industry at the expense of consumers. Trump ordered the Department of Labor to explore overturning — or at least weakening — a dull-sounding Obama administration regulation known as the “fiduciary rule.” And while the details of that will be up to Trump’s labor secretary, his order does at least push back the start date for the rule, which was supposed to go into effect in April. “The rule is a solution in search of a problem,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Friday.
The fiduciary rule is the sort of technical-sounding tweak that doesn’t whip up a ton of attention during political campaigns, but it could have a major impact on the amount of money middle-class Americans are able to save for their retirements. The essence of the rule isn’t all that complicated. It simply requires the retirement fund managers overseeing your 401(k) or IRA to actually act in your best interest—rather than sacrificing your interests for their own personal gain.
(Mother Jones)

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American Promise, a national cross-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to winning a 28th Amendment that will overturn Citizens United v. FEC, set reasonable spending limits in elections, and secure the political equality of all Americans, will be launching a new American Promise Association (APA) in St. Paul, Minnesota on Saturday, February 11 at 1:30PM at the Edina Library Meeting Room, 5280 Grandview Square, Edina, MN 55436 to rally citizens in support of a 28th Amendment. RSVP Here


A resolution in the state legislature calling on Congress to pass the We the People Amendment was first introduced in 2012. This amendment states that “Artificial entities such as corporations do not have constitutional rights” and “Money is not free speech.” Similar resolutions have passed in 18 states.


“No matter what issue you are concerned about, including human rights, climate change, small businesses, family farming, or minimum wage, nothing will change without passing a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating that personhood belongs to humans only and money does not equal speech.” Said Vicki Barnes, one of the founding members of Minnesota’s American Promise Association.


A Bloomberg poll of 2015 finds that 80% of Americans agree with overturning Citizens United; a Hart Research/American Viewpoint poll of Business Leaders for The Committee for Economic Development done in 2013 showed that 70% of business leaders think that super PACs should be made illegal and 89% supported limits on donations to political candidates and groups.


So far 18 states and over 740 cities and towns have passed 28th Amendment resolutions with cross-partisan support.  In Montana and Colorado, voters have approved 28th Amendment ballot initiatives by 75-25%. In November, Washington State became the 18th State to call for the 28th Amendment, with a voter initiative passing by wide margins in every region and every Congressional district of the state.


trump10Though he actually made a sane choice to head the VA, at least for now, the following is probably much more indicative of the administration’s plans.

Donald Trump signed an order (Jan. 23) that freezes pay for hundreds of thousands of veterans, potentially shuts tens of thousands more out of a job, and seems to starve the Department of Veterans Affairs of workers it desperately needs.
“That didn’t take long. In just his third day in office, Donald Trump screwed hundreds of thousands of veterans out of better pay, and thousands more out of potential jobs,” said Peter Kauffmann, Senior Adviser to VoteVets. “Veterans who have families to feed, who may be saving up for a home, all of them have been let down by Donald Trump. This shouldn’t be shocking. Donald Trump lobbied New York to kick disabled veterans, working as vendors, out from in front of Trump Tower. He has always been hostile to working veterans.”
…The Executive Order, signed by Trump, freezes pay and hiring for all Federal agencies with few exemptions. The Federal workforce is 31% veteran, meaning roughly 623,000 veterans depend on Federal jobs and pay.

As far as how much worse things could get:
Trump is moving forward with plans to privatize veterans’ care (MSNBC)

A mixed message to vets: Veterans groups weren’t invited to Trump’s first VA “listening session” (Salon)
According to exit polls, which are not reliable for close, detailed analysis but have meaning when they’re really one-sided, veterans voted 2-1 for Trump. Getting the word out about matters like this may help reverse that. The old military guys I know may be stubborn, but for the most part they’re no fools.


The deplorable Jeff Sessions has been confirmed as Attorney General of the United States. He is actually a step worse than the most incompetent AGs of prior presidents, notably Dubya’s Alberto Gonzales who was so execrable as AG that he could not find even a patronage job from righties as an attorney after he left office.

Sessions has taken more money from big oil than any other member of Congress; he is fully owned and operated by the fossil fuel industries. He is a bigot of the worst order, and a religious zealot of the worst extremism.

Shame shame shame on the right. Shame on Rump; he is not president of the entire United States. He is further demonstrating he is the president only of special interests and the deplorable worst elements of the United States.


Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 11

by Dan Burns on February 8, 2017 · 1 comment

trump5Fundamentally, 9/11 was able to happen because of the extreme – indeed, criminal – incompetence of the profoundly conservative Bush II administration. So this, from last week, is an especially disturbing indicator:

U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.
As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.

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