Recent Posts

from keepcalm-o-matic, UK

This may turn out to be another instance of right wing domestic terrorism.  The shooter was a toxic teabagger.


From WHNT 19 news:

He has a profile created by the website Tea Party Nation. And on, he left hundreds of messages espousing anti-government, anti-media views.
Houser was denied a concealed carry permit in 2006 after an arrest involving arson, and he was treated for mental health issues in 2008 and 2009, Russell County, Alabama, Sheriff Heath Taylor told CNN. And Taylor said his office served him an eviction notice in March 2014.

And in contrast to the assertion by the NRA that a good guy with a private gun will stop a tragedy like this, no one did, other than the efforts of law enforcement.  The good guy scenario is really more of a right wing nut fantasy than cogent reality thinking.  The shooter stopped himself by committing suicide when he realized the LEO response was so prompt.


Rather in this case, as the preliminary reports are emerging, it was another couple of heroic teachers who made a difference, one injured woman pulling the fire alarm as the shooter stopped to reload.  But of course this being Louisiana where there is a continuing right wing war on education, a GoFundMe account has been started to help these two heroic teachers with their medical bills, because apparently if you are injured, heroically or otherwise, because apparently you can’t afford health care as a normal benefit when you are a teacher.


The Governor will call you a hero, and put out a lot of hot air lip service, but he will stop well short of paying you or supporting a professional education curriculum.


Here is the info about the Go Fund Me account, via myhighplains, should you wish to show your appreciation towards these two heroic teacher in a more tangible way than grandstanding governor Jindal.

The Iberia Association of Educators and the Louisiana Association of Educators have created a Go Fund Me account for the two teachers that were shot at the Grand Theater shooting.

The organizations want to raise money to help them defray the cost of their medical bills that they will be left with after this tragedy.

Governor Bobby praised the heroic actions of two Iberia Parish teachers Jena Meaux and Ali Martin for risking their lives to save others.

The money raised will be split between these two brave women to help with any and all medical bills they will be left with.

To donate, click here:


MN-02: Kline up to the same crap

by Dan Burns on July 24, 2015 · 0 comments

kline2A couple of recent items.

Meanwhile, after three years of public comment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s issued its first-ever coal ash rule in December … to be effective on October 14, 2015.
So with that as a backdrop, John Kline co-sponsored a bill to remove the rule’s national standard for drinking water protection and cleanup of coal ash-contaminated sites.
And the House voted on that bill (Wednesday) … in six votes … and each time John Kline’s side prevailed (meaning “Coal Man” won, clean water lost)…
The Kline-backed bill allows states to decide that groundwater contamination and other pollution need not be cleaned up — in other words, if the “mess” can be ignored or impacts other states, so what.
(MN Political Roundtable)

(In early July), Kline resumed his role as corporate manservant, rising up against President Obama’s proposal that would make nearly five million more U.S. workers eligible for overtime pay. According to the White House, overtime rules are in dire need of recalibration, since they easily allow companies to skirt paying overtime without much creativity…
Meanwhile, as the nation comes out of the (July 4) weekend, Kline will be far removed from the daily challenges of working Minnesotans and back inside the Beltway, enjoying his annual congressional salary of $174,000 that’s flanked by benefits for which the rest of us would donate a kidney.
After all, this is Kline’s world. We just get to work in it.
(City Pages)


I am appalled at the ignorance of the right that combines with deep, passionate hatred – bignorance is my new term for it, big, bigoted ignorance.  Behold the shameful tragedy that are the conservatives among us.


What Seattle is doing is entirely about fairness and creating opportunities — both for residents and for local business.  Minneapolis has had something similar in place since 2006, resulting in more home ownership and an expanded tax base. What they are trying to do in Seattle similarly is to accommodate a form of lending that is not unique to Sharia law or to Muslim culture, but has been common to the major religions of the world, and many of the majorly influential cultures of the globe.


It reflects not ONLY an ignorance about Islam or other groups or faiths, but a profoundly willful ignorance of world history generally and comparative religions, but ignorance of Christian European history specifically.  It is appalling racism combined with the worst hypocrisy to condemn in others the exact same conduct and beliefs in your own culture, history and traditions.


From wikipedia:

Historically, some cultures (e.g., Christianity in much of Medieval Europe, and Islam in many parts of the world today) have regarded charging any interest for loans as sinful.
Some of the earliest known condemnations of usury come from the Vedic texts of India. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (the term is riba in Arabic and ribbit in Hebrew). At times, many nations from ancient China to ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire eventually allowed loans with carefully restricted interest rates, the Christian church in medieval Europe banned the charging of interest at any rate (as well as charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change).
The pivotal change in the English-speaking world seems to have come with lawful rights to charge interest on lent money, particularly the 1545 Act, “An Act Against Usurie” (37 H. viii 9) of King Henry VIII of England.

Islamophobic intolerance is strong on the right.  Every possible opportunity is grabbed to pile more hate on decent, U.S. law abiding Muslims, in an attempt to turn the USA into a theocracy with the crazies in charge.


I’ve quoted from the excellent debunker of myths and lies, Snopes, below — but their entry goes on much longer than what I have excerpted.  I encourage people to read the Snopes entry in its entirety.


From Snopes:

FACT CHECK: Is the city of Seattle forcing local businesses to comply with Sharia law?

Claim:   The mayor of Seattle has “launched” a new “rule” forcing businesses to comply with Sharia law.

   MOSTLY FALSE WHAT’S TRUE:   Seattle is exploring options to make home loans accessible to Muslims who are unable to participate in standard mortgage programs due to religious proscriptions.
WHAT’S FALSE:   Seattle businesses are being forced to comply with tenets of sharia law.Examples:    [Collected via Twitter, July 2015]

Warner Todd Huston @warnerthuston
Seattle Mayor Planning to Force Banks to Give Sharia Compliant Homes Loans to Local Muslims 
Seattle’s Liberal Mayor Caves To Muslims Following Sharia Law – BuzzPo 

Photo published for Seattle's Liberal Mayor Caves To Muslims Following Sharia Law - BuzzPo

Bunch @bunch1243
Mayor, no Sharia law applies in America!! Stop this unconstitutional junk. 

Origins: On 17 July 2015, the unreliable web site Conservative Tribune published an article titled “ALERT: Seattle Mayor Launches Rules to Force Local Businesses to Comply With SHARIAH LAW” claiming that:

In one major American city, new rules may force banks to comply with Shariah law on lending and interest.
One of the major tenets of Shariah law is that Muslims cannot pay interest on loans. In countries with large Muslim populations, there’s something known as Islamic banking, which manages to get around this through various machinations.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wants to see that change, and he’s apparently willing to force banks into Shariah-compliant lending if necessary.
This means that, if it passes, Seattle will be the first city in America to mandate that its banks allow access to Shariah-compliant financing.

That claim was sourced to the site’s article “Seattle Mayor Offers Plan for ‘Sharia-Compliant’ Housing Rules,” which offered the following visual:

That article was a word-for-word copy of a Puget Sound Business Journal article about a potential plan by the mayor of Seattle to help Muslims obtain home loans to buy houses. Quoting both Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Seattle-area Chapter Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, the article explained that the city was examining housing options available to home-buying Muslims who are prohibited from participating in the traditional American housing market due to religious restrictions that prohibit them from obtaining standard home loans (despite their having desirable credit profiles).


The loathsome lows of forced-birth zealotry

by Dan Burns on July 22, 2015 · 0 comments

prochoiceThe best thing I’ve seen about the puerile, despicable, craven attacks on Planned Parenthood.

What is happening here is profoundly different. GOP legislators and presidential wannabes appear to be coordinating attacks on Planned Parenthood with a group that may have violated numerous federal and state laws, including using secret videotaping (which is illegal in the State of California, where the taping took place) to surreptitiously record Dr. Deborah Nucatola, and now Dr. Mary Gatter, later dramatically altering both videos to make it seem as though they were saying things they never had.
The anti-choice groups with which the GOP has joined forces have a very long history of using lies and deceit to make claims about services and of creating “gotcha” videos that always turn out to be false, though the media continues to lap these up. They’ve made up their own “science” and disregarded medicine and public health to force doctors to provide and women to undergo unnecessary procedures, waiting times, and lectures, all in the service of a radical ideology. Their work to undermine basic public health advances endangers the lives of literally millions of people, including children. But “babies” and children are not really their concern, all protestations aside. They seek total control over sex and sexuality.
The most frightening aspect of all of this, however, is the degree to which deeply radical anti-choicers have infiltrated a major political party. These are literally domestic terrorists.
(RH Reality Check)

Yes, they are. And you have to wonder why legal authorities at all levels aren’t doing more to protect women’s rights.
In our general neck of the woods, North Dakota’s fetal heartbeat law was just blocked in court. A 20-week ban is “law” in Wisconsin; it will almost certainly be overturned.



political-manipulation“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.”

                                               George Orwell


As many times as I’ve wondered how some GOP pols and pundits can stand to look at themselves in the mirror, I’ve also wondered how they maintain such disciplined messaging. Do they get paid? Is it the discipline of the paycheck? Do the internet trolls, who comment on every political news story in the Strib by slamming Dems and excusing Pugs, get paid by someone? If not, how do they manage to stay on message so relentlessly?


Respect. If Dems could stay on message the way Pugs do, we’d own state government for the next ten generations. The problem for Dems, of course, is that so much of GOP messaging is factory-made and based on lies. A lot of our liberal friends in elected office have a tough time telling Lies-by-Design. Which is much to their credit, ethics-wise, but it puts Democratic candidates at a real disadvantage with the broader electorate when you consider that half the population has below average intelligence, hence are more easily misled than smarter folks. I don’t mean that in a mean way: it’s just a statement of fact. A significant portion of the population is more easily convinced of things that are untrue because they lack the cognitive and perceptual abilities that smarter people have. In how it frames it’s messaging, the GOP media machine utterly depends on that simple truth for the party’s continued existence.


Admittedly, it’s a lot easier for the GOP to keep churning out mass-produced mendacity like a Chinese plastics factory when spineless news anchors and chickensh*t political reporters are only willing to serve up softball questions to candidates and pundits. The accounting department long ago took over control of policy in the newsroom and the watchword ever since has been Revenue-Revenue-Revenue. Keep it light, guys. Don’t make enemies. Don’t offend anybody. We need to keep the ratings up to make goal each quarter. Your bonus depends on your cooperation. Your jobs depend on annual growth.


Take, for example, the remarks that MN Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt made earlier this year about Minnesota’s improving economy, covered by MNPP here:

“Part of this economic confidence,” Daudt told reporters with a straight face, “is there is balance restored in state government.”

To her credit, Pioneer Press Capitol Bureau Chief and political reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger challenged Daudt on that one and made him own the lie by forcing him to double-down on his BS. That’s what real political reporters do. The news media, after all, is not supposed to be a handy conveyance for politicians and pundits to drop trou and squeeze out some verbal dookie. That’s what concession speeches are for. Rather, it’s supposed to be an information forum where readers and audiences go to learn something as close to the truth as can be discovered and published. Political reporters aren’t doing human interest stories: there should be an apparent bias and overt partiality for the truth, regardless of which political party offers it up. Any impartiality the news media sustains should be to ensure that all offenders of truth are equally vilified, not that all lies are given equal ink and air time. As Churchill once said, “I refuse to remain impartial between the fire brigade and the fire.”


Which just gets to the nut of why Republicans complain so bitterly about media bias. The fact is they get exposed as liars and frauds more often than Democrats do simply because they tell a lot more lies. They have to. Their policies are founded on lies. Trickle-down economics for example was one of the biggest B-F-L’s ever perpetrated on the American people. So was WMD’s.


But I digress. Returning to the subject at hand, now some months later, we see the very same BS message that Herr Daudt was disparaged for last March surfacing again in our political discourse, when Cathy Wurzer put this question to their political panel on the July 10 broadcast of Almanac (~44:58) —

Wurzer: “The state forecast just came out — [another] $500 million to the good. What does that mean? Do you think we’re collecting too much in taxes … just a better economy … what do you all think?”

I’ll assign that question a rating of Four Softballs [@@@@] …

More Below the Fold


Cooper-Union-We-are-Students-Not-Customers-e1373664073701Not in a good way. The author of this is also an editor at


This past March, (Minnesota Attorney General Lori) Swanson amended her consumer fraud lawsuit she filed against Globe University and Minnesota School of Business last July, to now include two additional counts: Unlicensed Lending and Usury. These two additional charges specifically involve the schools’ EdOp and StA loans. As stated in her lawsuit, “Defendants engage in unlicensed lending, charge usurious interest rates, and take aggressive action against students who fall behind on their institutional loan payments; preventing students from completing the program in which they are enrolled.” Swanson also asserts that these loans are “void” and “students are under no obligation to pay any amount owing and are entitled to recover all amounts paid.”
According to the case, Globe University and Minnesota School of Business also provided “misleading and incomplete information” to some students about their loan obligations for their institutional loans. In Minnesota, it is illegal to charge interest rates above eight percent, and as Globe Education Network president, Jeff Myhre admitted in his online rebuttal to my claims, their “StA loan starts at 12 percent interest…”
(Huffington Post)

Apparently Rep. John Kline (R-MN) determined that it was, well, prudent, not to take campaign money from Globe this past quarter. (Based on what’s reported. We don’t know about dark money, one way or the other.) He’s still the for-profit industry’s best bud.


Minnesota’s Most Reprehensible Congressman™ continues to pocket generous campaign donations from disgraced for-profit colleges, according to his recent second-quarter report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). This coming at the time his conservatism is being questioned for supporting a bailout for students who attended fallen for-profit college Corinthian.
(City Pages)


ban Islam bigotry symbol

Conservatives are the quintessential hatriots [those who define patriotism as hate, usually for some group of their fellow Americans], ignorant bigots, and most of all, HYPOCRITES, and never more so than when they have an opportunity for religious intolerance at the same time they are protesting non-existent intrusions on their own religious freedom.  I expect this to be a key wedge issue on the right in both the 2015 and 2016 election cycles.  It will be another red state / red neck / red hot hate year at the polls.


Since the deplorable shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the swell of hate on the right towards not just those extremists who oppose western society, both sacred and secular, but also demonstrate a level of ignorance mixed into that hatred, fueled by propaganda intended to keep them scared and angry.


Just relying on the comments in social media against Muslims is horrifying – including against Americans who are Muslim.  Statements like “they should all be rounded up and either killed or at least kicked out of America”.  Statements like “every Muslim should be bombed out of existence” and that we should nuke every country with a significant Muslim population (sub-thread, send every Muslim to those countries before we blow them off the map).  Statements like every Muslim wants to kill us, and no Muslim can be trusted anywhere ever, and that no Muslim can be an American.  I think I was most offended by the conspiracy theorists who not only rejected even the possibility that Muslims could be peaceful, or tolerant of other religions, but who made up ugly, crazy conspiracy theories to explain the charitable effort to collect money to fund burned black churches in the south.


In particular the prophet Mohammed comes in for disparagement.  He is described as a pedophile and a violent mass murderer himself, and particularly condemned for his position on killing non-believers and for engaging in polygamy and sex slavery, way back in 570 – 632 CE.  He is also blamed of course for modern terrorist martyrdom.


There is only one problem with this criticism from predominantly Christian Right wingnuts of predominantly European ethnicity — it is hypocritical, criticizing historical figures on the basis of religion, while NOT criticizing European ethnic Christians for exactly the same conduct, either modern or historic.



Daudt the incompetent disaster

by Dan Burns on July 21, 2015 · 1 comment

daudtThe real lesson of the 2015 legislative session in Minnesota is how it brought the reality of the Great Con to which American conservatism has long since degenerated, into bold relief. The GOP promised to “address the needs” of rural Minnesota – specifically, to reverse the alleged pattern of them being screwed over by “liberal” city slickers. Once they had a House majority, the priority suddenly became blowing the entire budget surplus, plus some, on tax cut welfare for the wealthy, the bulk of which would have gone to big-time property owners, many of whom don’t even live in Minnesota. The preceding has not been emphasized enough, imo, in most post-session “analysis.”

I’m pretty sure I saw somewhere that House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) nonetheless gave himself and his caucus an A-. (Talk about the Dunning-Kruger effect!) Many, as the saying goes, “beg to differ.”


“My heart is heavy with grief from the actions taken by the MN House Majority and some of the MN GOP Senators,” wrote Minnesota Tea Party Alliance president Jack Rogers on his Facebook page.
“Unfortunately, every house rep let us down in the final 48 hours,” commented Jake Duesenberg, the Tea Party’s executive director. “No tax cuts at all. Huge spending increases in public education and socialized health care.”

Quit laughing – the man’s heart is “heavy with grief!” In rational, reality-based, meaningful, constructive, socio-political discussion, what the hard right thinks is irrelevant, and I put it in here mostly just for a chuckle. Mostly. But it also shows that it’s not just progressive activists who are very displeased, though we on the left, who actually do represent strong majority opinion in this country, have a lot more legitimate, rational reasons to be.

{ 1 comment }

Donald Trump goes to church?

by Dog Gone on July 20, 2015 · 0 comments

Wonkette reported on Donald Trump trying to impress the bigots and puritans in Iowa this week with his Jeeeeeeezus sincerity.


And as the Wonkette noted in their satiric and humorously sarcastic way, it is common for the Presbyterians to serve grape juice rather than wine during communion, giving rise to some skepticism as to his level of religious participation.


Trump said that while he hasn’t asked God for forgiveness, he does participate in Holy Communion.

“When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said. “I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.’”

Spoken like a truly God-fearing church-attending man of faith, one who definitely knows that Presbyterians drink grape juice, not real wine, in communion. Munching on his little cracker, aka the body of Christ, is Trump’s own special way of getting right with God, not that he needs to, because when has Trump ever done anything wrong?

I have to wonder not only at a possible gaffe about wine versus grape juice, but at Trump’s additional confusion over crackers and communion wafers.  I hope I might be excused for wondering if Trump was noshing on these, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers instead, reminiscent of the Christian fish symbol, thinking it was , you know, CLASSIER, with being gold and everything, than those bland wafers or actual bread.


Hang Trump around Republican necks

by Eric Ferguson on July 20, 2015 · 2 comments

Donald Trump as albatrossLive by data, die by data, at least in terms of some opinions. Trump was one of several Republican presidential candidates who had negative favorability ratings among likely Republican primary voters in PPP polls in May and June. There is no reason for Republicans to pick a candidate they don’t like when there are a bunch they do like, so these candidates, including Trump, could be safely ignored. Of course, there’s always the caveat of “pending new information”; new information would include this new poll showing Trump’s favorability has drastically improved.
That ABC News/Washington Post poll is from July 15. A Yougov poll on July 9 showed the rise in Trump’s favorability into positive territory, though his unfavorables remain high. In other words, Trump is a divisive figure among Republicans. The same nutty Mexicans-are-rapists sort of statements that caused many Republicans to rally to him are causing other Republicans to just cringe. We can tell in their difficulty coming up with responses to Trump, the “he phrased it badly but has an important point” sort of statements, that they don’t know what to do with him. For as much as I discouraged Democrats from paying attention to Trump because he’s a distraction from the candidates we might actually face a year from now, he’s an even bigger distraction to Republicans.
So hang him around Republicans’ necks. Make him their albatross.
How? We haven’t really had to try at the presidential level. The press is all over anything he says and goes to other candidates for comment — so far. The shine will wear off the bauble at some point, and we want to delay that day as long as possible. Besides, it isn’t just about the presidential race, or at least it doesn’t have to be. I see no reason not to make any Republicans either denounce Trump and put themselves at odds with their base, or try to wriggle out of it which is sure to be embarrassing. Maybe the damage will have worn off by election day 2016, but maybe not, and we are only three and a half months away from the 2015 election (keep reminding other Democrats that odd-numbered years matter — if you thought the midterm drop-off was bad…). So let’s be more than passive spectators.
As much as we’re warned away from internet activism on the grounds that activism can be easy or effective, but rarely both, I think I see one of those rare instances. Go to mainstream media web sites and click on the Trump stories, especially those about him saying something stupid (yes I know, that’s almost all of them). Everybody counts which stories get clicked on. If that feels too much like gaming the system, then read the story. I’ll at least skim it just so I feel honest, though I own up that I can’t stand listening to him, so the odds of listening to interviews is pretty much nil. Clicking the links on conservative sites too should help, since they want clicks and will get the message that Trump means clicks.
Then make the spinners unhappy. Ask Republican politicians and media personalities to respond to some Trump statement they haven’t responded to, or responded to badly. Be ready to record the answer. This shouldn’t be difficult when most people now carry phones with video cameras built in, and almost all digital cameras can record video now, though I suppose check before assuming. Google owns Youtube, and since most of us have a Google account, we have a Youtube account. Post your video of the discomfited GOP candidate. You can post video on Facebook, but Youtube is just more findable and sharable. Capture moments like Rick Santorum’s bad answer, and Republicans will have every reason to wonder if Trump is a Democratic plant.
So click some links, charge your camera battery, and have the popcorn ready.