Recent Posts

There continues to be efforts from conservatives to reduce and restrict the rights of eligible citizens to vote.

 

We need to be mindful of our history regarding voting rights, and to be sure we do not regress or backslide. Having the access and availability for exercising the franchise is the most essential part of representative government.  The VRA is, of course, the Voting Rights Act.

 

image courtesy of SPLC

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Back to all-too-often underfunded public school

by Dan Burns on August 18, 2016 · 0 comments

abandoned2Though I was good at school I didn’t like it much, and always got bummed out at this time of year. Decades later I still experience a residual echo of that, now and then. Anyway:
 

Indeed, back to school supply lists are likely longer than ever before due to the simple reason that schools increasingly don’t have the funds to pay for items on the list. And because of persistently inadequate budgets that continue to dog our schools, you can be sure the longer your shopping list, the worse the funding situation is throughout your child’s school system.
 
Not only are school stockrooms increasingly bare of supplies, but teachers aren’t being adequately paid, class sizes are ballooning, programs are being cut and school buildings increasingly forego required maintenance.
(Campaign for America’s Future)

Two more relevant items:
 
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Your Children – Your Grandchildren & Mental Health

by Mike Tikkanen on August 17, 2016 · 0 comments

If you have children, grandchildren or just like other people’s children, you should read this to the end.  You could help keep them safe from terrible things by understanding the connection between this mental health discussion and those terrible things.
 
These Star Tribune articles by Chris Serres, Brandon Stahl and Paul Walsh should wake us up as to the cost and danger we all face by ignoring, undertreating and maltreating mentally at risk people. Last week Chris wrote about the broken bones and violence done to children in the justice system because of their mental health struggles.  Thank you Star Tribune for bringing this long avoided topic to the front page.
 
Chris Serres’ first (above) article concentrates on the logjam and wait periods patients and providers face in this state and the human suffering that that accompanies it. Paul Walsh and Brandon Stahl write about Cory Morris punching his infant daughter 22 times to her death.  Cory had recently been turned away from mental health care because there were no beds available.
 
Not mentioned are the 900-1000 emergency psych visits to HCMC every month and that some psych patients are waiting three months to be admitted (and that’s just one MN hospital).  Allina Health DR Paul Goering states that “it’s been so paralyzing for the community to say ‘it looks like things are broken,’ and then to say it again next year”.
 
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Taking on predatory lenders in Minnesota

by Dan Burns on August 17, 2016 · 0 comments

predatory-lending-practices-how-to-avoid-them-12-638This article is well worth reading in full. There are ways to make things better, even when corporatists in both parties are being unhelpful, to say the least.
 

Even as guidelines against payday lending services stall out in the labyrinth of bureaucracy, local changemakers continue to provide relief for families caught up in debt traps–and fight to keep wealth within our communities and out of the hands of financial predators…
 
Payday loan services have been a staple on the public financial landscape since the 1980s. By definition, a payday loan is a small dollar loan, usually between $200 to $1,000, with an extraordinarily high interest rate that requires the borrower to pay back in full with their next paycheck, or risk even further financial penalties. The average annual percentage rate (APR) on payday loans is about 273 percent.
 
Shockingly, payday loans are still legal and in many states operate without regulation. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence as to the predatory and unjust nature of such loans, multiple efforts to impose national guidelines on payday loans since the 2008 recession have failed. Payday lenders even have both Minnesota DFL and Republican parties eating out of their hands.
(Twin Cities Daily Planet)

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I UnVoted ~ Social Media Graphic #2

by Invenium Viam on August 17, 2016 · 0 comments

Please feel free to share.

womens-reproduction

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The right wing ‘media’ does not follow the ethics, especially being factual, one should demand of a source of information.

 

They run long on animus, derogatory and demeaning stereotypes, and just straight up hatred for people they identify as ‘other’.  They are open spigots spewing bigoted media toxic waste.

 

We are seeing that in the latest ginned up Islamophobic controversy surrounding the new Somali candidate, Ilhan Omar, in Minneapolis.

 

The right wing bigot spigot is claiming that  Ms Omar married her brother, married another man, committing presumably both incest and bigamy, and that she married her brother in order to commit immigration fraud. All of those are highly unlikely under any circumstances, but least of all by someone running for public office and anticipating close scrutiny.  Which is why it took a while for any reference from legitimate media to the right wing stink.

 

Today’s Strib:

 

Ilhan Omar, whose victory in a Minneapolis DFL primary last week virtually assured her of becoming
the nation’s first Somali-American legislator, denied recent reports that she married her brother to commit immigration fraud while remaining married to the man who is the father of her three children.
“Allegations that she married her brother and is legally married to two people are categorically ridiculous and false,” campaign spokesman Ben Goldfarb said Monday.

The questions surfaced over the weekend in a report on the conservative website Power Line,…

It is never a good sign when only right wing agit prop sites carry a story, especially if they break the story.  They are not reliable or factual, but they are highly malicious, and appear to exist only to misinform, disinform and deliberately mislead their consumers.  They love to perpetuate the most vile stereotypes and  their bread and butter is to sling poo like angry apes.  Their consumers are not critical thinkers, they don’t question the media sewage they are spoon fed so long as it caters to their bias.

 

The Strib continued with the other side of the story:

 

Hennepin County records show Omar applied for a marriage license in 2002 but never used it. It
was not immediately known whom she planned to marry. Seven years later, Omar married Ahmed Nur Said Elmi in Eden Prairie, according to their marriage record. Elmi could not be reached for comment. Minnesota courts have no records of Omar and Elmi filing for divorce.

Her campaign flatly denied that Elmi is her brother. It would only say that she and Ahmed Hirsi, who is pictured in campaign literature and is the father of their three children, are together and raising a family. The Star Tribune could not find records in Minnesota showing that the two ever married.

 

Ms. Omar’s response to the allegations was appropriately succinct:

 

“A number of baseless, absurd rumors that don’t bear repeating have been made recently about my personal life and family. Let me be clear: They are categorically false.”

The explanation I was given when I did my own fact checking was that there were many people with the same or similar names from eastern Africa, much as we could have a lot of Joan Smiths or John Petersons or Joe Johnsons in Minnesota. This appears to be the kind of superficial information, same or similar names, that the bigot spigots used without further fact checking. Also I was informed that so far as the immigration fraud claims go, none of the dates for the names claimed match those of family members of Ms. Omar.

 

This is not the first time we have seen unfounded and poorly researched claims from the right; there was a similar pattern of stupid and malicious from the right wing nut group, Minnesota Majority, claiming all kinds of voter fraud that did not prove to be factually accurate. They also jumped the gun and over-reached accusations based on same or similar names that turned out to belong to completely different people.

 

You’d think the right would learn from their mistakes, but clearly these are not mistakes, they are deliberate attempts to smear someone without regard to fact checking. They don’t WANT to know the truth they just want to hurt individuals they regard as their opposition or targeted ‘others’.

 

The bigot spigot; it’s a conservative ‘thing’.

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imagesqtbnANd9GcSZspAVD2tLmnO6nfzr8GRRrcxptdR9GGJhQgVDlYnCtVzbgJ5ykQIt wasn’t all bad news. From last Thursday:
 

Today, the DEA announced that it was not rescheduling marijuana, in effect refusing to recognize marijuana’s medicinal benefits. But in what is viewed as a victory for the marijuana reform movement, the DEA said that it was ending its monopoly on marijuana research.
 
“Keeping marijuana in Schedule I shows that the DEA continues to ignore research, and places politics above science,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “In reality, marijuana should be descheduled and states should be allowed to set their own policies.”
 
One move that was positive was eliminating obstacles to research. “Ending the DEA-enforced NIDA monopoly is a very welcome move that will enable more research,” said Collins.
(Drug Policy Alliance)

This seems inexplicable, unless you consider that there are those in power, still, who nurse irrational fear and hate for marijuana and it users. But they’re swimming – flailing, is more like it – against the tide of history:
 
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Ready. Aim. You’re fired.

by Dog Gone on August 15, 2016 · 0 comments


When things got hot for Trump and his surrogates after his threatening second amendment statements, Trump and his minions tried to lie their way out of his words. It appears that the Trump campaign and Trump himself were spoken to by the Secret Service who also viewed Trump’s words as a threat against Candidate Clinton, should she win  (as increasingly it appears she is likely to do.)

 

It was clear. There was little ambiguity.  It wasn’t a joke.  It was an unabashed dog whistle to an ugly group he wants to support his candidacy.  So far the NRA has been his biggest supporter, and these comments are certainly consistent with some of the worst verbiage spewed by NRA board member Ted Nugent; but he wants the much less acceptable extreme fringe voters, if he can get them, as he loses so many other voters.

 

Trump meant for the gun hugger extremists to use violence against the legitimately elected government of the United States.  It is an extremist belief, now becoming more mainstream as the radical right has hijacked the GOP and increasingly driven out the moderates and saner factions.  In many ways that will define this election.

 

It would not surprise me to find that as he continues to lose, he resorts to it again and again. I believe Trump is hoping to win by encouraging someone to shoot Hillary Clinton, as his only path to the presidency — and that he has support from a certain section of the right, a disturbingly LARGE section of the right.

 

As with his dishonest claims calling the sitting president and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS, and then claiming those words were satire, Trump was also clear that he did in fact mean every word even though he quite clearly knew it was not true.

 

And now after pretending he did not REALLY mean those words, he is making he same ISIS founder statements again.

 

We can expect him to make the same statements threatening Hillary Clinton again. Neither planning nor creativity or variety are strong points on the right; they don’t have a lot of themes or ideas.  It is one of their greatest failings.  They are not good at governance, and least of all at solutions when they encounter problems.  This is just one more way they are one-trick-ponies.

 

It is just one reason, but arguably the best reason, not to elect or re-elect anyone on the right, least of all nasty, ignorant, arrogant, epic failure Donnie Drumpf.

 

Some of Trump’s “2A people” have in the past for example, called for the execution of John McCain, whom a militia or crack pots and crazies want executed. Others want Senator Chuck Shumer killed. A good many of them want Obama and Hillary Clinton killed. Donald Trump’s invited Republican convention speaker Sheriff David Clark has called for insurrection a number of times in the past, and has repeatedly claimed the 2A is for the purposes of terrifying our elected representatives. Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America made almost identical statements to those of Trump regarding the killing of the president – in his case, Obama – back in May of this year, regarding the selection of Supreme Court justices. The recently deceased Mike Vanderoegh was another fan of this interpretation — an unacceptable and unconstitutional interpretation, as established by George Washington and our other early presidents and founding fathers who stamped out such attempts at insurrection. And we see it in a wide range of sovereign citizen, and pseudo-patriot groups. Sharron Angle when running for the US Senate back in 2010 made similar statements about how should she lose at the ballot box, that the 2A crowd would resort to the bullet box.

 

It’s a cowardly threat, an attempt at intimidation that the right makes when they know they are losing. It is so damn common it is a conservative ‘thing’.

 

As noted by Right Wing Watch:

 

Pratt has a history of saying that the Second Amendment is meant to give people the right to assassinate or intimidate leaders they don’t like.

In Pratt’s view, the Second Amendment was created in order to instill in politicians “a healthy fear” in “the back of their minds” that they will be assassinated so “they’ll behave.”

He explicitly told Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., that she “should do her job in constant trepidation,” knowing that if she tries “to disarm Americans the way the British crown tried 240 years ago, the same sovereign people who constituted this government using the cartridge box someday may need to reconstitute it, as clearly anticipated by the Declaration of Independence.”

When Alan Colmes asked him if he really does believe that politicians “should have a healthy fear of being shot,” Pratt replied: “Sure, that’s what the Second Amendment is all about. ”

While some on the right are taking issue with Trump over his summons of the wackobirds to do violence, not nearly enough of them are, and it won’t be acceptable so long as Trump is the candidate and the RNC gives him even the thinnest cover of support and endorsement.

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The Star Tribune’s exposing violence done (broken bones) to Minnesota’s youngest citizens while in state care reminded me of my own experiences growing up and 40 years later as a CASA volunteer guardian ad Litem.

 

In my middle class 1977 Minneapolis neighborhood, the family next door’s 15 year old grandson became psychotic and behaved dangerously. Mom and dad tried to find him mental health help to no avail. The only option that provided treatment for their son was the Juvenile Justice system.  The boy’s entrance into the system required he be charged with a crime.  Their boy killed himself a few years later.

 

Since then, I’ve witnessed parents failing to find mental health services for their children many times, experienced dozens of children’s mental health tragedies and hundreds of mental health near tragedies.   Only extreme cases make the news.  Michael Swanson, Kendrea Johnson and Jeff Weis all sought help and were terribly underserved.

 
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ellisontppBut nothing’s over. Not even close.
 

There are lots of stories in the media claiming that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead for now.
 
And why wouldn’t TPP be dead? Both presidential candidates say they are opposed to TPP. Various Congressional leaders have said that it is unlikely to come up. Nancy Pelosi has spoken out against it. Harry Reid says he opposes it. All labor and environmental organizations along with most consumer, health, human rights and other progressive-aligned groups oppose TPP. Six Republican members of Congress who voted for the “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) have sent a letter opposing TPP. Even the Tea Party opposes TPP, calling it “Obamatrade.” Under these circumstances, the very idea that it could come up for a vote at all, never mind that it might even pass, is an insult to democracy.
 
But here’s the thing: Wall Street wants TPP and the giant multinational corporations want TPP. And what Wall Street and giant multinational corporations want from Congress, Wall Street and giant multinational corporations usually get from Congress. It’s not like insulting democracy is a big no-no to that crowd. So did you really think TPP would just go away?
(Campaign for America’s Future)

It’s telling that TPP ratification is expected to be no problem in more overtly authoritarian places like Malaysia and Vietnam (maybe it’s already been ratified in those, for all I know), but is facing serious issues in the U.S., Japan, Canada, and Australia. Based on my searches this morning, Japan’s legislature is still holding off, waiting to see what the U.S. does. (It was introduced in the legislature there, then tabled.) An important Australian commission came out against the deal. Here’s an example of what the opposition is presenting in Canada, and I wish them well.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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