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davisThis is from last October, and is a little dated, in some particulars, as far as which candidates are given particular notice. But it remains a most enlightening and useful resource.
 

(October 24), Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio will headline a veterans and military town hall in Greenville, South Carolina for the Concerned Veterans for America — a right-wing group backed by the Koch brothers. Rubio’s record reflects a lack of commitment to issues important to veterans and military families, so he’s lucky to be in friendly territory: addressing a group directly affiliated to the Koch brothers, whose funding and blessing he is courting.
 
Rubio is one of many Republican presidential hopefuls, including Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul, who have a poor record of service to our veterans – denying them access to education, health care, and other benefits.
(Correct The Record)

“7 Examples Of Republican Presidential Candidates Screwing Over Veterans.”
 
(Here is Col. Morris Davis’s Twitter account. Good stuff.)
 

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military_pie,_gold_background(Part 1 here.)

 
Current and continuing U.S. military operations are grossly bloated (and in many cases destructive, arguably criminally so), and any legitimate cost/benefit analysis is certainly a sorry sight indeed. To wit, and one could cite much, much more:
 

From the point of view of the U.S. military and the national security state, the period from September 12, 2001, to late last night could be summed up in a single word: more. What Washington funded with your tax dollars was a bacchanalia of expansion intended, as is endlessly reiterated, to keep America “safe.” But here’s the odd thing: as the structure of what’s always called “security” is built out ever further into our world and our lives, that world only seems to become less secure. Odder yet, that “more” is rarely a focus of media coverage, though its reality is glaringly obvious. The details may get coverage but the larger reality — the thing being created in Washington — seems of remarkably little interest…
 
After more than a decade of secret wars, massive surveillance, untold numbers of night raids, detentions, and assassinations, not to mention billions upon billions of dollars spent, the results speak for themselves. (Special Operations Command) has more than doubled in size and the secretive (Joint Special Operations Command) may be almost as large as SOCOM was in 2001. Since September of that year, 36 new terror groups have sprung up, including multiple al-Qaeda franchises, offshoots, and allies. Today, these groups still operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan — there are now 11 recognized al-Qaeda affiliates in the latter nation, five in the former — as well as in Mali and Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, Nigeria and Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen, among other countries. One offshoot was born of the American invasion of Iraq, was nurtured in a U.S. prison camp, and, now known as the Islamic State, controls a wide swath of that country and neighboring Syria, a proto-caliphate in the heart of the Middle East that was only the stuff of jihadi dreams back in 2001. That group, alone, has an estimated strength of around 30,000 and managed to take over a huge swath of territory, including Iraq’s second largest city, despite being relentlessly targeted in its infancy by JSOC.
 
“We need to continue to synchronize the deployment of (Special Operations Forces) throughout the globe,” says Votel. “We all need to be synched up, coordinated, and prepared throughout the command.” Left out of sync are the American people who have consistently been kept in the dark about what America’s special operators are doing and where they’re doing it, not to mention the checkered results of, and blowback from, what they’ve done. But if history is any guide, the black ops blackout will help ensure that this continues to be a “golden age” for U.S. Special Operations Command.
(TomDispatch)

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Kim Davis and the religious right wing nuts claim they have somehow ‘won’ in their fight to deny marriage civil rights to gay couples. Losing is a series of decisions that the bigot beliefs of the religious right don’t entitle them to special privileges to hurt other people.

 
And the other big ‘win’ came nearly two weeks ago; Kentucky is going to have to pay, and pay big, for their bigotry under the false label of religious freedom to discriminate and hate.  From the AP and WCPO news, there is this little nugget underlining that loss for the right:

 

Kentucky to pay $1.1 million in same-sex marriage case
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A federal judge awarded a team of Kentucky attorneys more than $1 million for their role in the landmark United States Supreme Court case that struck down bans on same-sex marriage.

The state will have to pick up the $1.1 million tab.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge John Heyburn ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Attorney General Jack Conway refused to appeal. But former Gov. Steve Beshear hired outside attorneys to continue defending the ban.

The case, and others like it, made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which effectively legalized same-sex marriage last summer.

Jessica Ditto, spokeswoman for Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who took office last month and opposes same-sex marriages, said in an email Wednesday evening that the governor’s general counsel is reviewing the ruling.

“We are pleased that the court did not award any bonus attorney fees and eliminated certain fees and expenses that the court deemed unnecessary,” Ditto said.

Federal law mandates that losing parties in civil rights cases pay the winning side’s attorneys’ fees and expenses.

Now the right likes to deny and lie when the facts are not on their side – as is the case here with who won and who lost.

 
If you follow the lame logic of the evangelical crazies, those like Michele Bachmann (who has been strangely silent for a while) or lunatic fringie Sarah Palin, then the recent east coast blizzard that shut down the coastal states with snow must mean God, aka Jebus, does not support those who are anti-abortion.

 
Readers here may remember the push-back in 2011 when Bachmann asserted, as an example of right wing ‘magical thinking’, a form of mental illness:
 

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?'”

 

Hello anti-choicers? Apparently God just slapped you down with his fluffy white wrath in unmistakeable terms, clearly intending to block your efforts. Not a peep out of Bachmann or Palin on the topic. Shutting down early and being stranded on a turnpike is not ‘winning’, it is not an endorsement of your position from God.

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DF-ST-87-06962 Presumably if you’re reading this you’re something of a glutton for psychological punishment – like me, I guess – and therefore have been following issues like U.S. military spending. You may then, if you’re old enough, recall the fanfare with which it was announced that, as part of a law passed in 1996, some sort of Pentagon super-audit would finally get to the bottom of things. We’re still waiting.
 

The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 requires every federal agency to pass a routine financial audit each year. The Pentagon is the only cabinet agency that is “unauditable” according to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office.
 
In the last decade, the Pentagon broke every promise to Congress about when the audit would be finished. Meanwhile, Congress doubled the Pentagon’s budget.
(Audit the Pentagon)

I spent the better part of an evening searching parameters like “what percent of u.s. military spending is fraud and waste,” and while I ran across all kinds of intriguing stuff, I didn’t find a readily apparent number as a percentage of the total budget for our warmongering-industrial complex. That’s understandable when you consider that terms like “fraud” and “waste” are subject to very wide interpretation, in practice, and no one really knows what’s going on with all that Pentagon money, anyway. But when you take into account items like big-ticket weapons systems that will likely never be used, resources that have disappeared (and continue to do so) overseas (especially in Iraq and Afghanistan), the sorts of practices that got us into those wars in the first place, unneeded bases both here and abroad, corporate profiteering,
 
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Steve Simon on Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on January 24, 2016 · 0 comments

Steve Simon at Democratic Visions

MN Secretary of State Steve Simon with Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien

As the second year begins of Steve Simon’s tenure as Minnesota’s Secretary of State, he shares his perspectives about voting in Minnesota, elections and several non-political services provided by his office on the January edition of Democratic Visions. Safe at Home, for example, is a program that provides safe and anonymous email, postal and residential addresses for victims of domestic violence and victims of stalking who continue to fear for their safety.
 
Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien and Simon also weigh in on a U.S. Supreme Court Case (Evenwel vs. Abbott) which could soon reject the “one person one vote” principle that has long been applied in the drawing-up of congressional and state legislative districts.  If the principle is rejected, millions of urban voters will be under represented.
 
But O’Brien and Simon mostly consider voting reforms and challenges in Minnesota; a state which year in and year out boasts one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation.A segment of President Barack Obama’s emotional, January 5th announcement of executive orders intended to make it difficult for risky people to acquire guns rounds out the program.
 
Democratic Visions is a community access program produced by volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access TV studio by arrangement with Southwest Community Television.  Democratic Visions is not funded, endorsed or supported by any political party, campaign, political action committee or guest.
 
This program is on YouTube here.
 
Democratic Visions Cable TV Schedule –

EP, Mtka, 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.

Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Channel 15 — Fridays 8 a.m.,Saturdays 6:00 a.m., 10,30 a.m.,10:30 p.m.

Segments and full half hours of Democratic Visions are archived on YouTube –   www.youtube.com/user/DemocraticVisions/

 

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the smarter version of Sarah Palin – solid rubber between her ears instead of hollow space, and no sounds emerge from her mouth

 

It appears that in the course of endorsing Donald “turnip-top” Trump, the tea party bimbo Sarah Palin has attempted to blame President Obama for her son’s PTSD, and his domestic violence charge.  Palin claims that Obama’s failure to respect the troops is responsible for her idjit son Track’s violence towards women and chronic abuse of alcohol.

 
Instead, Palin appears to either be hoping very much that this claim will slide by the crazy, ignorant base who doesn’t give a tinker’s damn if Trump (and his supporters) are factually accurate or even vaguely truthful.  If not, her endorsement might quickly prove to be more of a liability than a benefit to the eccentric right winger leader.  False claims about military service are one of the few things that might antagonize Trump’s ignorant followers.

 

Here are the apparent problems with Palin’s claim:
 

1. there appears to be no credible diagnosis of PTSD from a health professional re Track, and there is a huge questionmark over Track Palin having been in combat;

 

2. there is no credible evidence that how a president feels or doesn’t feel affects anyone having PTSD, re the subjective perception of respect for the military;

 

3. Track enlisted in 2007, served for a year in 2008, BEFORE Obama became president.  If anyone is responsible for problems resulting from Iraq, it would be Dubya, not Obama; and

 

4. the entire Palin clan is prone to drunken violence, without the rest having served anywhere in our armed forces.  It is a ‘Palin’ family thing, not a PTSD problem.  The family appears to be a bunch of armed alcohol abusing louts, such that a more plausible explanation for Track’s behavior is that he learned it at home.

 
From Politicalgates.blogspot.com we see that it appears that Track Palin served a little over a week of active service under the Obama administration’s first term of office; further that his prior year of active service does NOT appear to have been in combat, from the available description on his discharge papers.  There have been vets who have been in theaters of conflict in other countries WITHOUT having themselves been in combat.  I would further underline that nowhere (so far) have I found Track Palin himself making the claim he was a combat veteran, OR that he suffers from PTSD.

 

From Politicalgates.blogspot.com on how one checks combat service records, which indicates Track Palin is NOT a combat veteran, via the Veterans Disability blog:
 

That was the case today when speaking with a Veteran about combat. His question was: “What exactly makes anyone a combat Veteran?” Some may be quick to say that serving in combat makes you a combat Veteran, but there is more to it than that.

The VA lists several different ways in which a Veteran can prove he or she was in combat.

· If you received a combat service medal, then you are considered a combat Veteran

· If you received hostile fire pay, imminent danger pay or tax benefits

· If you received military service documentation that documents combat theater

So, does serving in a foreign country automatically qualify me as combat Veteran? Not necessarily. Even if you served in Iraq or Afghanistan during the past ten years, it does not guarantee that you are a combat Veteran.

How can you find out? Well, your DD-214 is a great place to start. Your Discharge won’t automatically say that you were a combat Veteran though…that would be too easy. Box 13 on more modern DD-214’s is where they list medals, awards and ribbons. The VA does recognize certain medals etc. as a qualifier for combat service. (That list will appear in an upcoming blog.)

Also listed on your DD-214 is the type of pay you received. Box 18 would be the place to find out if you received Hostile Fire Pay, or the Imminent Danger Pay. It is important to note that this can appear in box 13, though it is rare for it to appear there.

And a vet who has served in combat, and who has served with Track Palin, is quite adamant he is not a victim of PTSD, nor have I found anyone who served with him who substantiates that Track Palin was a combat veteran or was symptomatic for PTSD.
 


From Salon:

 

…if this wasn’t about a 26 year-old grown man currently charged with fourth-degree assault, fourth-degree misconduct involving a weapon and interfering with a report of domestic violence.
Earlier this week, Track, who divorced his first wife in 2012, was arrested over an incident at the Wasilla home he shares with his parents. Police noted his current girlfriend had “bruising and swelling around her left eye” and described Track as “uncooperative, belligerent, and evasive with my initial line of questions.” A breath sample registered his blood alcohol level at 0.189. In her conversation with the police, Track’s girlfriend claimed he had threatened to kill himself, and an unloaded AR-15 was found near the scene. Palin denied using a weapon but told police “that they were spread throughout both residences on the property.”

Track Palin was serving in Iraq as an air guard in the “Arctic Wolves,” the Army’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, during his mother’s 2008 bid for vice president. He is routinely described in the press as a combat veteran, though some within the veteran community, based on Palin’s discharge paperwork, dispute his actual combat duty.

 

Unless, perhaps, we want to redefine the acronym PTSD to mean (Sarah) Palin’s Totally Stupid Dypsomania (alcohol abuse)?

 
Here is a review of the charges against Track Palin.

 
This entire family of Alaskan hicks (the adults anyway) act more like redneck trash than pious folks demonstrating those wholesome family values they give such annoying lip service.  For example, we have anything-but-chaste Bristol Palin, who took a ton of $$$$ to espouse abstinence having yet another child out of wed lock, and brother Track, who is dad to a daughter born 3 months after his wedding, (a fitting repeat of his parents behavior – Track was also conceived before his own parents’ engagement and elopement) and we have this past example of Palin family drunken brawling from less than a year and a half ago.

 
These are NOT ‘law abiding people’, these are not ‘family values people’ who present a clear understanding or example of how people behave morally and ethically in a civil society.  These are over-privileged cretins with too little judgement and too much money, and a mind-boggling capacity for ignorance and bad behavior, and a grotesque degree of hypocrisy and a false sense of entitlement apparently.

 
What they are NOT is personally accountable — but apparently, on the right, that’s just a requirement for OTHER PEOPLE.  Another example of right wing do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do morality, the kind that holds other people to a higher standard than they hold themselves.  How apt that Palin endorses the oh-so-vulgar Trump; they are noisy, garish birds of a feather in a  gold paint gilded cage, hip deep in their own guano baggage, a ‘yoooge’ ‘classy’ gilded cage.

 
As noted by multiple other individuals who are far better entitled to address the topics of the US military and PTSD:

‘Palin is using PTSD as an excuse to shift blame away from her son’s domestic violence,’ Brandon Friedman, the former digital media director for the Department of Veterans Affairs, said in an interview with Huffington Post.

‘She never mentioned the actual victim. She portrayed her son as the victim, but never talked about his girlfriend, apparently crying and hiding under a bed because he beat her.’

Friedman also said; ‘The fact is, veterans who have PTSD are far, far more likely to harm themselves than they are to harm others.’

As for Palin’s comment about President Obama, Friedman said; ‘It’s ironic that people like Sarah Palin are in the party of “personal responsibility” but as soon as someone in her family is arrested for domestic violence, it’s Obama’s fault.’

Paul Rieckhoff, who heads Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, seemed to reiterate this statement, telling NBC News; ‘It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD.

‘PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury, and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.’

He also said that he hopes Palin does not turn this into ‘a political chew toy in a political campaign’.

 

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coutesy of sikhchic.com

As the 2016 election cycle ramps up, we see more examples of the faulty morals and ethics of right wing propaganda, outright lies, and a whole lot of denial instead of accepting responsibility.  Let’s review some of the recent examples, particularly those relating to racism and immigration issues.

 

We see it in S.C. Governor Nikki Haley’s rebuttal to the state of the union address by President Obama earlier this month, which was really more of a rebuttal to Donald Trump, making false claims about bigotry in our country’s laws regarding race and religion.  We do in fact as a nation, from our earliest days, have a pretty shameful history.  It is quintessentially conservatives, especially those of the tea party stripe, who promote revisionist history and other fact-averse curricula in our schools, attempting to throw out fact based education.  It is the antithesis of accountability and taking responsibility for past actions and for present proposed actions that are bigoted, intolerant, and exclusionary, both on the basis of race and ethnicity, and religion.

 

Not surprising that Governor Nimrata Haley, nee’ Randhawa, doesn’t use her actual name very often in her public life or political career, which would be too ‘ethnic’ for many right wing voters.  It is all too common for people from her own background of Sikkhism, (which ignorant bigot conservatives routinely confuse with Islam) to be referred to as ‘rag heads’ on conservative talk radio, for example.  These are the same conservatives who claim that Indian American beauty pageant contestants are not ‘American’ enough to wear a tiara and represent the USA. But there is just no excuse for Haley to deny (or to be unaware) of the laws in this country which banned people like her family from becoming citizens based on ethnicity.  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal doesn’t use his real name either, Piyuash, apparently for similar reasons of distancing himself from his race/ethnicity.

 

Conservatives are swarming to support bigot peddling more than ever this election cycle, and always have.  The Salt Lake Tribune hit the nail on the head:

Pitts: Nikki Haley living in Fantasyland

Nikki Haley’s 44th birthday is this week. You would think her a little old for fairytales.

But a bizarre, little-reported remark the South Carolina governor made last week suggests that, age notwithstanding, Haley lives in Fantasyland, at least insofar as American history is concerned. The comment in question came the day after her Tuesday night speech in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which she cuffed Donald Trump for his strident anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant bigotry.

Haley told reporters, “When you’ve got immigrants who are coming here legally, we’ve never in the history of this country passed any laws or done anything based on race or religion.”

Or the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, whose title and intent are self-explanatory?

Or the Immigration Act of 1917, which banned immigrants from East Asia and the Pacific?

Or Ozawa v. U.S., the 1922 Supreme Court decision which declared that Japanese immigrants could not be naturalized?

Or U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind, the 1923 high court ruling which said people from India — like Haley’s parents — could not become naturalized citizens?

So yes, however you slice it, Haley is wrong and Haley is ignorant. But one wonders if Haley is to blame.

Americans, the historian Ray Arsenault once said, live by “mythic conceptions of what they think happened” in the past. And as school systems, under pressure from conservative school boards, retreat from teaching that which embarrasses the nation’s self-image, as ethnic studies classes are outlawed, as textbooks are scrubbed of painfully inconvenient truths, as standards requiring the teaching of only “positive aspects” of American history are imposed, we find those mythic conceptions encroaching reality to a troubling degree.

They’re right. The problem is, even if you concede that point, Haley is still grotesquely wrong. She thinks no immigration laws have been passed “based on race or religion”? What about:

The Naturalization Act of 1790, which extended citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person.”?

Or the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, whose title and intent are self-explanatory?

Or the Immigration Act of 1917, which banned immigrants from East Asia and the Pacific?

Or Ozawa v. U.S., the 1922 Supreme Court decision which declared that Japanese immigrants could not be naturalized?

Or U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind, the 1923 high court ruling which said people from India — like Haley’s parents — could not become naturalized citizens?

So yes, however you slice it, Haley is wrong and Haley is ignorant. But one wonders if Haley is to blame.

Americans, the historian Ray Arsenault once said, live by “mythic conceptions of what they think happened” in the past. And as school systems, under pressure from conservative school boards, retreat from teaching that which embarrasses the nation’s self-image, as ethnic studies classes are outlawed, as textbooks are scrubbed of painfully inconvenient truths, as standards requiring the teaching of only “positive aspects” of American history are imposed, we find those mythic conceptions encroaching reality to a troubling degree.

Haley was born in 1972; US v Bhagat Sing Thind took place in 1923 affirming people from India could not become citizens – just slightly less than 50 years earlier.  We’re not talking ancient history here, by a long shot.  Read more about this case here  but here is an excerpt to highlight the gist of the case and what resulted, courtesy of wikipedia:

 

Not only were new applicants from India denied the privilege of naturalization, but the new racial classification suggested that the retroactive revocation of naturalization certificates granted to Asian Indians, of which there were many, might be supported by the Court’s decision, a point that some courts upheld when United States attorneys petitioned to cancel the naturalization certificates previously granted to many Asian Indians. Some of the consequences of revoked naturalized status are illustrated by the example of some Asian Indian land owners living in California who found themselves under the jurisdiction of the California Alien Land Law of 1913. Specifically, Attorney General Ulysses S. Webb was very active in revoking Indian land purchases; in a bid to strengthen the Asiatic Exclusion League, he promised to prevent Indians from buying or leasing land. Under intense pressure, and with Immigration Act of 1917 preventing fresh immigration to strengthen the fledgling Indian-American community, many Indians left the United States, leaving only half their original American population, 2,405, by 1940.

…the Asian Indian community finally succeeded in gaining support among several prominent congressmen, as well as President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The support culminated in the signing into law by President Truman on July 2, 1946, of the Luce-Celler Act. This Act reversed the Thind decision by explicitly extending racial eligibility for naturalization to natives of India, and set a token quota for their immigration at 100 per year.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Hart-Celler Immigration Act, which phased out the national origins quota system first instituted in 1921. In 1965–1970, 27,859 Indian immigrants entered the United States. Immigration from India in 1965–1993 was 558,980

Neither Governor, Haley or Jindal, are likely to be unaware of bigotry in law or common practice, current or historical. So that makes it an intentional convenient political lie in an attempt to minimize ADMITTING that this appeal to bigotry is part and parcel of our conservative politics in the United States. Jindal and now Haley are nothing but political tokens for the right, selling out their origins in exchange for individual acceptance. That makes them far worse than simple liars, and it gives the greater lie to responsibility on the right for the reality of their bigotry. To lie like this means they KNOW the problem exists, and they choose to deny it rather than own it. Haley and Jindal, Trump and Palin, and those who support them, tend to be racist bigots and also religious bigots.  Own it.  Take responsibility for it.  It is quintessentially conservative.  Expect to see it reflected in the 2016 right wing primary election results.

 

Meanwhile, right wing media whore Ann Coulter tweeted that Trump should deport Nikki Haley…..  such intolerance for those who are not white and of European descent among conservatives.  Apparently that excludes Nikki Haley as being “American” enough to stay here?

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Minnesota legislative elections news 1/21/16

by Dan Burns on January 21, 2016 · 0 comments

Minnesota-State-CapitolFrom time to time I note some legislative electoral news that might be of particular interest for progressives. These posts most certainly do not purport to include everything.
 
Shawn Olson is running for the Senate in SD8 (mostly Otter Tail County, a few hours NW of the metro). I usually don’t extol a particular candidate the moment he gets into a race like this, as other interested DFLers may come along and I’ve learned from experience to wait and see what shakes out. But it’s hard to see, from a progressive standpoint, how we’d get a better candidate than Olson.
 
– Here are reasons why Matt Little is going to win SD58, in the SE Metro. That’s the seat being vacated by Sen. Dave Thompson (R-Lakeville). Here’s Little’s website.

 

– In HD57A, it looks like Rep. Tara Mack (R-Apple Valley) may well be running for reelection, in spite of it all, and a DFL candidate is Erin Maye Quade.

 

– In HD21A, Rep. Mack’s cohort in sordid scandal, Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing), is being challenged by Lisa Bayley. Here’s Bayley’s website.

 

– In HD6A, Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing) won’t seek reelection.
 

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66758002People are working to try to get President Obama to come through in doing more to help protect women’s fundamental right to reproductive choice.
 

Anti-women, right-wing extremists in Congress are relentless in their commitment to take health care, including abortions, away from women. One of the most powerful tools they have is the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, which prohibits the use of federal funds for any health benefits coverage that includes abortion…
 
It’s bad enough that women have to fight so hard to defend their constitutional rights against right-wing Republican extremists. It’s even worse when Democrats are also standing in the way. The Hyde Amendment has been re-authorized every year for the past 39 years, under Democratic presidents and with Congress in Democratic control. When President Obama ran for president he promised he would work to end Hyde’s dangerous intrusion on “a poor woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy.” He has failed to follow through on that promise, not only by endorsing Hyde in each of his seven budgets but by allowing the Stupak Amendment to strip access to abortion from ObamaCare.
(Credo Action)

Related items:
 
“States added another 47 abortion restrictions in 2015. No doubt there are more to come.”
 
“Groups Push Obama to Clarify U.S. Abortion Funding for Wartime Rape.”
 

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Gov. Dayton goes on offense with initiatives

by Dan Burns on January 18, 2016 · 2 comments

dayton2I readily acknowledge that I am a little surprised and – not that anyone should care all that much what I think – more than a little pleased to see Gov. Mark Dayton charging from the gate like this. He clearly doesn’t intend for this year’s legislative session to end as the last one did. What I’ve noted includes:
 
– Student loan refinancing. It was actually authorized by the legislature in 2014, when DFLers still held both houses.
 

Minnesota state officials are trying to take some of the sting out of high student-loan debt, rolling out a new program that could allow thousands of residents to refinance student loans and drive down monthly payments.
 
“If a student is graduating with such a high debt load, it makes it just so much more difficult for them to do so much more in our economy, whether it is buy a house or start a small business or buy a car,” Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said Thursday…
 
The issue has strong bipartisan appeal.
(Star Tribune)

– A $220M plan for water quality, including treatment plant upgrades and the like. As this one has plenty for rural areas it jolted the wingnuts off balance, whether they’ll admit it or not.

 
$1.4B in bonding. (Note that thanks to the federal transportation bill the state can more confidently plan for the longer term.) Bluestem Prairie notes what some of the right-wing reaction to that has already been.
 
I noted that I’m a little surprised because I figured he’d at least wait on items like the water initiative until 2017, when there’s a pretty good chance that DFLers will have the whole legislature again. I appear to have underestimated the level of determination, here.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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