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MN lege: GOP makes a hater Senate Majority Leader

by Dan Burns on November 16, 2016 · 0 comments

gazelkaErstwhile Minnesota Senate Republican leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) lost his reelection effort, and Sen. Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) is the new guy. (The GOP has a 34-33 majority, pending a couple of recounts that are unlikely to change anything.) Gazelka is a head case.

Take his appearance nearly a year ago at the Now is the Time! Now is the Season! Jubilee! Chuck Pierce and Dutch Sheets, Duluth MN in Duluth, at which the state senator joined other Christian dominionists to pray for the Zenith City. (For a quick look into the mind of Dutch Sheets, check out his Baal Teachings, which equate LGBTQ people with demons; someone should find out in Gazelka–who in 2010 grabbed the endorsement from the MNGOP’s only openly gay legislator–if he agrees).
(Bluestem Prairie)

I don’t know that there was a lot of thought put into this. Mostly I figure that Gazelka wanted the job when it unexpectedly opened up, and he gets along with most everyone in the caucus, so they gave it to him.
It’s not like most people even know, much less care, who the state Senate Majority Leader is. But I will note that not long ago I would have mocked the MNGOP for putting an openly bigoted extremist into a position like this, given the longer-term political winds. Right now, I’m not so sure.


A post election respite

by JeffStrate on November 15, 2016 · 0 comments

The Thanksgiving edition of Democratic Visions provides DFLers and progressives with respite from the cross-talking panels of post-election, conjecturing TV and radio pundits and Democrat Party spin meisters who have been getting it wrong ever since Bernie tossed his hat into the presidential candidate ring.


But first, this week the StarTribune has published commentaries by two of our favorite guests.

coupled image of Tharwat and Timmer

TV host Ahmed Tharwat and blogger Steve Timmer.

LeftMN’s Steve Timmer of Edina writes about the possibility of Keith Ellison becoming chair of the Democratic National Committee. Read “In search of a DNR Chair” here. BelAhdan’s Ahmed Tharwat of Minnetonka suggests that American Muslims need a survival guide. Tharwat’s sly think pieces regularly infuriate the trolling hyenas in the Strib’s reader comments section. Read it here.

Image of Birch Island Lake, Eden Prairie

Click on the photo of Eden Prairie’s Birch Island Lake to see the Thanksgiving edition of Democratic Visions

The new Democratic Visions opens with a video essay of mostly west suburban natural settings underscored by Aaron Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring” and continues with a variety of guests from this year’s video vault.   Eden Prairie Council member Ron Case talks about his favorite hamlet of cul-de-sacs, McMansions, SW Light Rail, open spaces, diversity and good government. Humorist Jon Spayde returns as a spacey and failed TED talker who claims that the digital age is “so over, so yesterday.”   We have also dusted off an April 2016 chat between DFL activist and Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien and blogger Steve Timmer that foreshadowed a presidential-elect Donald Trump.


Democratic Visions On cableTV

Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Comcast Channel 15 —

Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.


Bloomington – BCAT Channel 16 — Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.


Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 — Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Program is streamed at the MTN website during cablecasts.

Program is lived streamed during airings –


Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Community Channel 15 Schedule varies consult website –


Democratic Visions is hand made by unpaid volunteers from Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Bloomington. Our program is not financially supported or endorsed by any political party, political action committee or special interest group.



The way forward

by Eric Ferguson on November 14, 2016 · 1 comment

We’ve had a few days to grieve. I know the process doesn’t end just like that, on a schedule. People we know, in our community, in our circle of friends, maybe us, are going to be directly harmed in the dark days to come. The deplorables are feeling free to indulge their prejudices. Before moping any further, remember the anecdotes of non-white and non-Christian children already being bullied in school, women being accosted in public by strange men who think trump rules apply everywhere, DREAMers whose legal status can be revoked in an instant once Trump can revoke Obama’s executive orders. People are about to lose their access to health care when Obamacare is repealed. They’re about to lose protection from the depredations of the big banks when financial reform is repealed. People are going to lose their voting rights, abortion rights, their right to organize and bargain collectively when hard-won rights come under unrestrained Republican attack.


People on the downside of life need us to be strong. Time to snap out of our melancholy and get moving.


And be aware there are bright spots, and there is a way forward.


Never forget, or let anyone else forget, that Hillary Clinton won. The loser gets to assume the presidency, but in terms of who got the most votes, which is what should count, we won — and we didn’t just beat Trump. We also took on the malpracticing mainstream media, a partisan FBI, the Russian government and it’s puppets at Wikileaks, and we beat them. The electoral college, this archaic election system, was one more opponent than we could beat. But we still got more votes, and that needs to be repeated until this bigoted fraudster is gone: he’s the loser. Hillary won.


Also keep this mind before despairing, and let the GOP despair for the future: once again, young adults were heavily Democratic, which has been the case several elections in row. The 18-year-olds who started going heavily Democratic in 2004 are only just now reaching 30, roughly the age where they start voting with regularity. Hispanics and Asians punch below their weight in turnout, but that’s unlikely to last forever and their numbers are rising. The fastest growing religious group is the “nones”, and they are heavily Democratic. Republicans are exultant now, but they’re also on a clock, with an utter fool as a leader. Look at the coming dysfunctional administration as entertainment, because otherwise it will be tragedy, and be glad we aren’t stuck with one of the Republicans who might have been effective at doing awful things.



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cryingbabyThe November 8 Star Tribune article gave me hope that I’ve not had in decades for the saving of abused and neglected children from extended traumas and ruined lives.

No longer will a child need to endure maltreatment before they get social services in Minnesota’s most populous county, an unprecedented step in the state.

Thank you Task Force on Child Protection, Safe Passage For Children, Governor Dayton and all the legislators and supporters standing for the weakest and most vulnerable children in our community. 
Additional funding for staff, reduced caseloads, responding to child abuse reports at all hours (including weekends) and focusing on the child’s well-being instead of the crisis mode required after traumatic abuse has been endured (usually for years) will make a huge difference in the lives of these kids.
By making services available to struggling families and insuring that very young children reported as abused receive face-to-face assessments and the help they need, we will be interrupting patterns of behavior that can ruin a child’s life forever and making their lives safer and happier.


Governor Dayton and the MN lege GOP

by Dan Burns on November 12, 2016 · 1 comment

dayton2Sounds like a good call on the Governor’s part, to me.

Dayton has two more years in his term and doesn’t appear willing to budge on key issues. He says Minnesota voters sent a mixed message by narrowly backing Hillary Clinton for president but also supporting GOP control of the Legislature…
Dayton and Republicans will also face a rerun of divided state government in 2011. That year, a budget impasse between the two sides resulted in a government shutdown.
While Dayton says he’s willing to work with Republicans this year, he warned the outcome could be messy again.
“It’s going to be unrealistic for Minnesotans to send a group of people that are closely divided and have deep differences and expect that it’s all going to be peace and harmony. It’s not,” he said. “They sent a divided government here in St. Paul and they’re going to get divided government for better and for worse.”

Referring to the rest of the article, in reality relatively few people are being screwed by the MNsure price hikes (though there shouldn’t be any, and a DFL legislature would have been primed to see to that). But Minnesota’s corporate media obsessing on that, as well as with the so-called “rural/urban divide,” in order to help out the Party of Trump, may indeed have helped them. Mostly, though, the GOP legislative majorities got there on the coattails of a president-elect who is a misogynist and sexual predator, white supremacist, pathological liar, career criminal…and a ridiculous buffoon. Really something to be proud of.
The elements will in all likelihood be in place for a 2018 backlash election in our favor. It will help if we take every opportunity, between now and then, to identify MN GOP legislators with Trump.
Comment below fold.

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Epic Fail: Why Clinton and the Dems Lost …

by Invenium Viam on November 12, 2016 · 0 comments

winter-is-coming“I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness …” John 1:23, King James Bible


One of the things that gripes me about the political punditry on the left is how quick they are to say, “Nobody knew. Nobody saw this coming.” They are saying it now about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. It was unthinkable, so it couldn’t be true. Well, some of us said the unthinkable was something that could happen …


They said nobody saw the insurgency on the left, which drove the rise of socialist Bernie Sanders as a real contender for the Democratic nomination, which I predicted in May, 2015: Hillary Clinton has Bigger Problems Than She Knows ~ Part 1 and Part 2. They said it about the youth insurgency, which helped drive the Sanders campaign into a national challenge, which I predicted in September, 2015: Part 3 And, most recently, they said it about the election of Donald Trump, which I predicted last May, before either major party nominee had been endorsed: Why Trump Will Beat Hillary On Election Day.


I didn’t get all the details right, which is very hard to do when prognosticating. A lot can change in a day in politics and campaigns, not to mention an entire election season. I thought Bernie and his advisors would be smart enough to figure out that the Democratic establishment would do what they had to do to block his nomination and that he’d see that and run as an independent. I got that wrong. The establishment was crafty enough to string him along to the convention. The presidential race, the 2016 election, and the political landscape on November 9 would have been entirely different if he had undertaken an independent bid. He might even have won the presidency. Had he been able to bring Senator Elizabeth Warren onto his ticket, I’m convinced he would have won.



Keith Ellison for DNC chair looks serious

by Dan Burns on November 11, 2016 · 2 comments


Keith Ellison is rapidly pulling in serious endorsements as the next DNC chair. The Minnesota Representative has already lined up support from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who said that Ellison would be “terrific.” Now Rep. Ellison also has Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in his corner.
(Daily Kos)

I admit that I was a little surprised when I first saw this. Why Keith Ellison? His intelligence? His integrity? His courage? His fundamental decency and concern for others? All of these making him precisely the opposite of the president-elect and those with whom he’s surrounding himself?
You know what? This does make sense.
Comments below fold.


Now we need to do something about it.


We must begin with getting rid of voter suppression, which has been shown to have steadily lowered voter turnout.


We must also make getting foreign governments out of elections, like the Russians meeting with the Trump campaign throughout the lead up to the election, with those Russian emails, intending to interference with our elections.



A few flickers of light in Minnesota

by Dan Burns on November 9, 2016 · 0 comments

minnesota_state_capitolA few things that I wrote about leading up to election day did go OK.
– Despite how the night went overall, Stewart Mills III was defeated yet again by Rep. Rick Nolan (R-MN). I live in MN-08, and it’s obvious to me that plenty of district residents saw through the challenger’s supremely phony act. I could do without ever seeing the name Stewart Mills III in a political context again, but I don’t know that it will happen. He seems obsessed with trying to prove to the world that he’s more than the sum of his inherited privilege.
– Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) lost to Steve Cwodzinski. It’s my privilege to be acquainted with a few people who live in that area and who have to be liking that one.

– The four-person, DFL-endorsed, pro-public schools coalition all won seats on the Minneapolis School Board.


If you want to see my suggestions

by Dan Burns on November 9, 2016 · 0 comments

– Don’t get all hung up in the ranting, finger-pointing, and recriminations that will likely dominate the online left for a while.
– Live in the present and avoid wallowing in worst-case projecting doom and gloom. It sounds like a facile cliche right now, but consider that there may be something to the one about every problem being an opportunity in disguise.
– This will potentially provide the left with a lot of new allies, within the business community for example. Be aware that compromise, of the win-win sort, can be a good thing.
– Challenges are what make life interesting. Right?