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Voila! Hooray for Macron!

by Dog Gone on May 7, 2017 · 1 comment

A little Edith Piaf, then maybe I’ll add a good video of the Marseilles. If the numbers improve appreciably, I may throw in some dubbed Jerry Lewis.

 

Why the celebration?

 

Because in an election that for some time had been polled as possibly close, or with a tRump like win for Le Pen,, but it did not happen.  With fears that the French equivalent of the disastrous Fascism of the fairly far right wing nut, a leader also controlled by Putin and backed by Russia, trying to pull off an inside take over of the government of one of the more significant member countries of both NATO and the EU, this mattered.  This mattered very much.

 

It has been said in the past that ‘X’ number of Frenchmen (and women) can’t be wrong, to which the comedic rebuttal has often been that all those Frenchies couldn’t be right, just look at their fandom of Jerry Lewis (hugely popular in his day).

 

Marine Le Pen has lost, lost big, lost (as of the count as I write this) 65.1% for Emannuel Macron to 34.9%  for the perennial fascist.

 

Or if I vilify female Nazi wannabees, to ape a turn of phrase from the male chauvinist pig/cochon,  Rush Limbaugh,”Femi-fascista” Le Pen.

No Frexit (French Brexit) now, no pull out of NATO either. No governmental racist policies — and for a country that includes the Dreyfus affair in its history, that is saying something.

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NoVoteHere’s the cover page of the bill, SF514. I’m just going to pass along the bulk of an email from the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus, specifically Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury).
 

The Omnibus Elections Bill authored by Republican Mary Kiffmeyer would create a controversial and complicated provisional balloting system that would throw out legitimate ballots so that not all votes would be counted. Furthermore, it would allow anybody to challenge your ballot without basis or cause. If your ballot were to be challenged, your vote may not be counted and your private data would be permanently made public. Not only is this a bad idea, it also adds millions of dollars in costs to already overburdened counties.
 
Countless Minnesotans would be disenfranchised and unnecessarily hassled if this becomes law. Republicans’ goal is to suppress the vote so that they can more easily pass their agenda. When fewer people participate, Republicans win. They want to change the rules to make it harder for your vote to be counted.

Comment below fold.
 
…READ MORE

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trump10From April 28:
 

This Saturday marks President Donald Trump’s 100th day in the White House. Over the last 100 days, Mr. Trump’s policy proposals, irresponsible rhetoric, and controversial appointments have made our families and communities less secure, our businesses less confident about the future, and our nation more isolated in the world.
 
Despite total Republican control of Congress, President Trump has been incapable of governing responsibly. Just this week — because of Republican dithering — Congress was forced to pass another stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for just seven days, denying Americans the certainty they deserve.
 
The first 100 days have revealed a President who is proposing legislation and taking executive actions that hurt working Americans at every turn.
(Rep. Betty McCollum/Medium)

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MN lege: When will the crazy end? Part 4

by Dan Burns on May 4, 2017 · 0 comments

minnesota_state_capitolThree items. Regarding the first, you may recall that during the Pawlenty administration Local Government Aid was slashed, to the point that local governments had to hike taxes on businesses just to provide basic services. And believe it or not, Party of Trump legislators want to go down that road again, though in less flagrant ways this time around.
 

The Governor’s proposal—by virtue of its larger appropriation increase in 2018 and by the fact that it does not rescind that increase in 2019—provides larger aid increases for more cities in both 2018 and 2019 than either the House or Senate proposals. For example, 679 cities receive an aid increase relative to current law in both 2018 and 2019, and for 532 of these cities, or 78 percent, the increase exceeds two percent. No city experiences an aid reduction relative to current law in either 2018 or 2019 under the Governor’s proposal.
 
To this point, the analysis in this proposal has been in nominal dollars (i.e., dollars unadjusted for inflation). Because inflation erodes the purchasing power of LGA over time, it is important to examine the change in aid in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) dollars.‡ Only the Governor’s proposal provides LGA funding sufficient to maintain the real purchasing power of LGA dollars at the 2017 level in both 2018 and 2019 for a significant number of Minnesota cities.
(North Star Policy Institute)

…READ MORE

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trump15A lot of Trump voters honestly do believe that they’re backing a really sharp guy whose head is together.
 

President Donald Trump questioned why the Civil War— which erupted 150 years ago over slavery — needed to happen. He said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator who is developing nuclear missiles and oppresses his people, under the “right circumstances.”
 
The president floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline. Trump said he was “looking at” breaking up the big banks, sending the stock market sliding. He seemed to praise Philippines strongman President Rodrigo Duterte for his high approval ratings. He promised changes to the Republican health care bill, though he has seemed unsure what was in the legislation, even as his advisers whipped votes for it.
 
And Monday still had nine hours to go.
 
“It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president.”
(Politico)

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daudt(Update: On Monday, the same day that I posted the text below, the Minnesota House did produce a bonding bill plan. Which doesn’t mean that Speaker Daudt and his allies won’t wait until the last minute, again, to try to shove it through on an our-plan-or-no-plan-at-all basis.
 

(“Grossly inadequate” would be one way to describe the House proposal. “Shortsighted” and “small-minded” work, too. As does plain old “cheap.” Here are links to proposals from the:
 
House;
 

Senate;
 

Governor.)
 

To me at least, the ending of the 2016 legislative session in Minnesota was quite probably not just some display of ineptitude. I think it was House Speaker Kurt Daudt’s (R-Crown) intent all along to ram through the Republican bonding bill at the last minute, giving Democratic legislators and Gov. Dayton no choice but to go along or get no bill at all. The whole plan may well have originated with Daudt’s handlers at the American Legislative Exchange Council. And, because 2016 turned out to be such a bizarre and horrifying political year, the fact that said plan didn’t entirely work produced no backlash vs. the MN GOP.

 
And from what I’m seeing so far, the intent may well be to try the same thing again, only get it “right” this time.
 

As the session reaches the spring recess — leaving about a month left when lawmakers return — the bonding bill is one of the biggest question marks.
 
Last year, a bonding plan emerged in the last hours of the last day of the session. It failed to reach the governor’s desk after a volley between the House and Senate caused lawmakers to run out of time.
(MPR)

That article is from early April. But as of this writing the House still hasn’t produced a detailed bill.
 
Yet there are growing indications that Daudt is not the Minnesota Party of Trump’s undisputed golden boy that I and others have believed him to be. Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) announced a run for governor.
 

Dean, 51, has a soft-spoken demeanor but is widely viewed as a leader of the conservative wing of the House Republican caucus. Two years ago, he sought the post of House speaker but was defeated by Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, who’s mulling his own bid for governor.
 
Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman is the only other Republican to declare so far. In addition to Daudt, other Republicans considering the race include Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey, 2014 Republican nominee Jeff Johnson and a handful of other state legislators, including Sen. David Osmek of Mound and Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake.
(Star Tribune)

If Daudt and his fans can’t even impress/intimidate Matt Dean enough to convince him that joining the race would just be a waste of time and effort, things are a lot iffier for him than I have realized up to now.
 

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mngopdonorsSince few people in the general population know or care who state political party chairs are, to some extent this is just indulging my fellow politics junkies. But, hey, that’s what I’m here for.
 

Jennifer Carnahan, whose abandonment as a baby in South Korea led to an upbringing and business career in Minnesota, will lead the state Republican Party into a high-stakes election year…
 
Carnahan, 40, entered the race as something of a dark horse. She’s never held elective office or a prominent party role as her three challengers — Deputy Chairman Chris Fields, former Senate Minority Leader David Hann and Republican National Committeeman Rick Rice.
 
In fact, she attended her first party caucus only last year…
 
Her victory saw her come from behind. Fields led on the first two ballots, with Hann also in contention. As Rice failed to qualify for the second ballot and Hann faded, Carnahan’s support surged. She topped Fields when it was just the two of them on the fourth ballot.
(MPR)

It seems like Hann and Fields both went in with their factions (as well as probably plenty of attendees who don’t like either of them all that much), but they weren’t enough, and they ended up electing who they could. Was that Carnahan’s plan? Did she go in really believing that she had much chance? Heck if I know.
 
So the MN GOP basically stumbled into getting what sure looks to me like the best candidate. From an objective standpoint, Carnahan certainly seems like an impressive person. Too bad she’s so unrepresentative of the Party of Trump’s base.
 

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Featured Guest Commentary

Senator-John-Martyby Senator John Marty
April 29, 2017

What if Republicans repealed Minnesota’s campaign finance reforms and nobody knew about it? Unfortunately, that is happening right now.

 

Both the Minnesota House and Senate recently passed legislation to repeal the heart of Minnesota’s campaign finance reform laws. These were major reforms adopted on a bipartisan basis forty years ago in the wake of the Watergate scandal and were strengthened after an ethics scandal in the early 1990s.

 

Despite widespread disgust at the corruption of our democracy from powerful special interests and deep frustration at the Citizens’ United ruling which allowed more big money into politics, there has been no public outcry about this effort to repeal Minnesota’s reforms, even though this will make the situation worse.

 

Why the lack of outcry? Simply put, the public doesn’t know about it. I have not seen a single news report about the issue, perhaps because the repeal is buried in the large budget bill that funds state agencies. It takes just 4 lines hidden in a lengthy 56-page bill to destroy four decades of campaign financing reform.

 

The law being repealed established campaign spending limits for candidates. Those spending limits are tied to public financing to help give new candidates and those without a lot of money a chance to compete without relying on wealthy interests to fund their campaigns.

 

Virtually all candidates for the Minnesota legislature and constitutional offices currently abide by the spending limits. If this repeal is signed into law, in 2018 there won’t be any restriction on how much a candidate can spend.

 

People who care about the future of our democracy should be outraged. Year after year, politicians and the courts have been steadily turning our democracy over to the highest bidders, turning our elections into auctions. Well-funded interests can win enough close races to determine who controls government.

 

As a candidate who has rejected all PAC and lobbyist money, I am concerned that candidates who reject special interest money will have no chance of winning, and that legislators will become even more beholden to the interests of the big donors who fund their campaigns.

 

Major changes in state policy such as this should not be buried in budget bills. Senate File 605, the State Government Appropriations Bill that contains the repeal of the campaign finance reforms, is in conference committee to work out differences between the House and Senate language. The one conferee fighting to block it is Sen. Carolyn Laine, the only DFL member of the committee. Unless the Republican conference committee members have a change of heart, or unless the Governor vetoes the bill, Minnesota’s campaign finance reforms will be gone.

 

If we believe that our state should be governed by the will of the voters, not the desires of wealthy donors and powerful interests, we need to speak out now. For the sake of our democracy, we need the legislature to remove the repeal language or for Governor Dayton to veto the bill.

 


Copyright © 2017 Senator John Marty. All rights reserved. Reprinted here with permission from the author.

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trump18What with everything else that’s been going on, people shouldn’t forget that Pr*sident Trump’s #1 priority will always be to use the presidency to try to make himself the richest man of all time.
 

Since Trump took office, he has provided countless demonstrations of the insatiable avarice he proudly advertised. The president has shamelessly refused to put any meaningful distance between himself and his globe-spanning business interests, while directing millions of public dollars into the coffers of his own properties, and using his bully pulpit to promote his daughter’s fashion line.
 
But all that tasteless, unprecedented, norm-shattering stuff is small potatoes. For Donald Trump, the real payday lies in simply passing a personally tailored version of the Republican Party’s regressive agenda.
 
On Wednesday, the president unveiled his plan for “reforming” the corporate tax code. And the cornerstone of that proposal is a giant tax cut for corporations — and an even bigger one for businesses like his own.
(New York Magazine)

(The quote in the image is genuine. Huffington Post asked a number of public figures to briefly summarize Trump’s first hundred days.)
 

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schoolsWe’ll see how hard the deformers push this in the legislature, when crunch time comes. Traditional public schools these days are turning out kids who are simply too smart to buy into conservatism – the failed ideology of f*cking idiots. The righties are beyond desperate to undermine that.
 

Gov. Mark Dayton has been a longtime opponent of efforts to allow public money to follow students to private schools.
 
But the governor said he was asked to publicly repeat his position, so that’s what he did Wednesday: “I will veto any bill that has vouchers attached to it.”
 
That’s not all, though.
 
Dayton clarified that his opposition extends beyond the traditional concept of private school vouchers. He opposes provisions in the House and Senate tax bills that would give breaks to people who donate to organizations that deliver private school scholarships, saying too many charities would want similar status.
(MPR)

Here is important background information.
 

Conservatives continue to push vouchers and private school tax credits, despite new research (summarized in a recent North Star article) indicating that this approach is counter-productive to improving student achievement. Minnesota is among the states considering expanding the K-12 education tax credit to include contributions by individuals and corporations to foundations that provide vouchers and other funding for private schools. If we do the math, it becomes apparent that a large portion—up to 82 percent—of these private contributions to private schools would be effectively paid for with public dollars…
 
Ultimately, these educational tax credits for individuals and corporations will result in de facto public funding of private educational choices, with relatively little public oversight over how the dollars are spent and without proof that student achievement goals are being met (or even adequately measured) or that teachers are fully qualified. In some instances, public dollars could be subsidizing institutions that have a political affiliation or social agenda. The public will not decide how these public tax dollars are spent, but rather private corporations and wealthy individuals, whose goals may not align with the public interest.
(North Star Policy Institute)

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