Friday, March 15, 2019

The Friday Link for 3/15/18

Hey everyone!  Short but sweet this week, but some great information for those heading to Mexico for Spring Break.

Earlier this year, Shayla (a fine Minnesotan!) did a series on her video channel 'Living on a One Way.'  In it she breaks down the do's and don'ts in regards to travel in Mexico.  Regardless of what the fear mongers say, Mexico is an amazing place to visit and Shayla absolutely gives you top notch information.  I know (in Minnesota) Spring Break begins for various school districts next week, so be prepared before you head to a foreign country.

The last thing I said is my most important piece of advice I can give you.  Mexico is a foreign country.  If you foolishly go there thinking being an US citizen gets you some sort of advantage, you are grossly mistaken.  Not that Mexican people aren't friendly and welcoming; of course they are, but if you get stupid, bad things will happen.  

The videos break down into 1) what to know before you go, and 2) safety tips.  Enjoy.  Shayla is a hoot!

Have a great weekend everyone and travel safe!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

What the Hell Does it Take???

In 2015, Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Daudt mysteriously had $13,000 in credit card debt forgiven.  With some of the debt, the debt was vacated at the request of the creditor, who then asked the courts to end the case with no further costs to either party.  How rare was an arrangement like this?  Out of 650 cases researched at the time, only four (0.6%!!!) had been forgiven in the same way, with death and bankruptcy being contributing factors in those cases.  Daudt's debt was not forgiven in a manner available to most people who had credit card debt issues.

Kurt Daudt was neither dead nor was he filing for bankruptcy.  One of the legal teams who helped vacate Kurt's debt was part of a law firm who lobbied for political causes in the Legislature, including lobbying the Legislature on behalf of another Daudt creditor who had also settled their financial grievance with the Speaker of the House.

For anyone who just read this, MASSIVE red flags should've gone off.  Here was a fiscally compromised Speaker, the head of one of the two branches of the Minnesota Legislature, having $13,000 in debt disappear, with a lobbying firm (at least) partially to thank for such an act of benevolence.  At the very least, an extreme conflict of interest seems to have been uncovered, AT BEST!

You'd think the Twin Cities media would've picked apart this story, digging deep to find out if any wrong doing occurred.  Outside of City Pages, Minnesota media didn't look too deeply at all.  A few outlets had interviews scheduled with Daudt, but he canceled, instead issuing a press release where he acted as if this was a private matter.  It wasn't, as the Speaker of the House could potentially get calls from the same lobbying firms who's co-workers helped Daudt's debt disappear.  The public had a right to know what was going on, but the media shrugged their shoulders, implying "he doesn't want to talk about it" was a viable defense for their lack of coverage on what could still be a fairly large bit of corruption.  We don't know the truth, and I guess we'll never know.

Journalism is dying.  Their death can be contributed to a few different causes:  the purchase and large scale consolidation of media (especially print media), sales staffs having ultimate control over content, and online competition.  One cause which doesn't get mentioned, but one which I think is the biggest contributor of all, is simply crap journalism.

In Minnesota, I think there are maybe 5 journalists who carry the mantle of journalistic integrity, who are worth reading and who do a consistently good job. That's it!  Beyond those five, NONE of the remaining "journalists" in town would get hired as an intern in a 1970's news organization.  Most modern journalists need to have the story nearly spoon fed to them.  They're writing copy from select information they've been given, converting it into a format friendly paragraph, with no intent of looking past the minimal facts they've been presented.  Journalism today has more in common with a classified ad of the 1970's than it does with the stories which ran on page one back then.

This system is extremely easy to exploit, and the Republican machine does it with ease.  Republican press organizations assemble the talking points they want in a story and then, under the guise of being helpful, send the story nearly written to the journalist.  This allows them to make sure maximum coverage is given to stories which make Republicans look good and Democrats look bad.  It also allows the opposite stories to get overlooked.  Overworked and frazzled journalists, with minimal encouragement, take their copy points and run with them.  Think of the Ebola story from a few years back.  It was the number one story in every media outlet in the country, until he day of the 2014 election, when overnight the Ebola story disappeared.  I asked multiple journalists in town about what happened to 'the story of the century,' and they all shrugged their shoulders, offering no excuse on why something which dominated their own news cycles all the sudden didn't exist.  It didn't exist anymore because the Right stopped pushing it.  The goal was to scare people before the election, and when they were done, they stopped spoon feeding the media the narrative.

Last week, local media was all a flutter about US Representative Ilhan Omar's alleged anti-Semitic remarks, remarks which, when looked at in the harshest light by her most vicious critics, could be flimsily labeled anti-Semitic, but they were far more critical of official Israeli policies in the Middle East, especially in regards to the Palestinians, and critical of established US Conservative 'Israel over the US' policy.  Before anyone jumps on me, there was an element which alluded to loyalty pledges, something which was used in the past to discriminate against the Jewish people (and many others), but Omar's comments about loyalty pledges was undeniably about her own choices, not trying to force anyone else into one.

Did the story deserve some coverage?  Sure, but the wall to wall coverage Minnesota (and nationwide) media gave it?  There was clearly a manipulation of the media to make this story far more than it was.  Proof of that is the complete ignoring of Republican Iowa Representative Steve King's repeated bigoted, racists and anti-Semitic comments and actions which are FAR WORSE than ANYTHING Ilhan Omar has uttered.  It was only when people started asking "what about Steve King" did the media all the sudden let the story go, acting as if the whole problem had been solved by Omar getting a slap on the wrist from Democratic Leadership.

The media in this town all had the same talking points, the same narrative, and in more than a few cases, the exact same quotes.  They got played by the machine.

Here's where the failure of journalism gets really ugly.  On the 23rd of February, there was a pro-gun rally in the Minnesota Capitol Rotunda.  One of the speakers at the event was far right MN Representative Cal Bahr.  Cal took to the stage to rile up the gun kooks in attendance when his comments took a VERY ugly turn:

  • "There's a lot of us in this room that have had enough, and it's time to start riding herd on the rest of these people that want to take your rights away from you.  They will not go quietly into the good night.  They need to be kicked to the curb and stomped on and run over a few times."

WOW! A sitting Republican MN House Representative was in the Capitol Rotunda calling for violence against House Democrats who were writing common sense gun regulations.  It's clear he was directing these comments towards the Democrats and it's very clear he called for violence.  After numerous Democratic leaders called Bahr out, he didn't really apologize, rather made an excuse which blamed everyone else.  He lied by saying he never called for violence against people, only the bills themselves (wha...?), and then he said he never intended violence.  This was an outrageous cover story, easily foiled by simply watching the video.  For goodness sake, a Congressman in the Capitol was calling for Democrats to be violently attacked for writing legislation he didn't like.

For Minnesotans, this is undeniably a far more damning and scary story than the Right wing hyped up Rep. Omar fiasco.  You'd think journalists would be out asking BASIC questions: Was the MNGOP leadership okay with this threat?  Do Republican leaders condemn or condone his comments?  Should Bahr issue a formal apology?  Should Bahr be punished by House leaders?  Should Bahr be allowed to have a gun? Should Bahr resign?  The headline should've read "Bahr's Excuse for Calling for Violence Contradicted by his Own Statements."

It'd be great to see Twin Cities journalists to pursue this story with the same vigor and intensity they went after Ilhan Omar, or the intensity they went after ANY Democrat when they smell a feeble lead.  Instead, the media decided to stop doing their job the minute Bahr issues his lie filled excuse.  Since the Right wasn't spoon feeding them the talking points, they decided to was too much work to do a BASIC FOLLOW UP.

I know many journalists will read this and insist I'm out of line, that they did their job, and I just don't understand the nuances of writing news stories.  No 'journalists;' you miserably failed yet once again.  The follow up on Steven King or Bahr didn't require sifting through stacks of paperwork for hours, or meeting a mysterious source in the shadows of a parking garage.  It required making a few phone calls, cornering the politician in the halls of the Capitol, or doing a SIMPLE Google search.  These simple follow ups were too much for Minnesota 'journalists' to tackle.

Journalism will die because 'journalists,' who are so freaking in love with the movies which highlight the journalistic integrity of yore, are incapable of doing their job in 2019.  Outside of a few exceptions, they don't know how to write a good story, investigate a lead, or even write a competent follow up.

For the record, even if they did stumble upon a bit of journalistic integrity, my guess would be their sales focused bosses would stomp it out before hand.  They don't want to upset Republican voters who might buy an ad with the paper; who might consider cancelling their subscription.

So to salute the modern journalist, let's update the movies journalists love:
  • In All the President's Men..., when the White House stone walled them, Woodward and Bernstein shrug their shoulders, go back to the paper and say, "well I guess there's no story there."
  • In Spotlight, when they realized the story had been under their noses the entire time, they decide to ignore it as a way to cover up their mistake, instead focusing on something sports or puppy related.
  • In The Post, realizing the amount of work it would take to track down the Pentagon Papers, sort through them and figure out what exactly happened, they dismissed the story and wrote something which wouldn't hurt the social status of the paper's owner.
Wow, writing those three new descriptions really highlights how close to death modern journalism is.

Here's hoping the good ones still left can find some way to carry on.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Friday Link for 3/8/19

For this weeks Friday Link, just back from my Friday Lenten Fish Fry:

Two complexity unrelated videos but both good in their own right.

First, how would you like to be one of the few people in a deserted outpost?  I mean seriously deserted, with more polar bears than people.  Welcome to Pyramiden, a abandoned coal town on the Russian island of Spitsbergen.  A wonderful National Geographic short describes just that existence, and outside of having to wear a gun constantly to prevent from getting eaten, I actually looks very cool (pun not necessarily intended).  How about the guy knowing so many languages, being a good tour guide, and also knows how to play music?  Makes you yearn for a time when we all weren't staring at a glowing rectangle.

And also give it up to Seth Meyers.  He occasionally lampoons certain movie and TV genres, and this last week he set his sights on the Newspaper movie, the movie which describes the media of the 1970's and how every journalist fantasizes about being part of some story with that kind of scope (usually as they purposely ignore stories which are right there waiting for them, but they, or their publisher, overlook).  Having watched All the Presidents Men... recently, this is spot on.

Have great weekend everyone, and be careful with the snow!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


Monday morning I made a comment on Twitter.  I believe the Federal Government should get to Alabama and Georgia and help the people whose lives have been destroyed by the spate of tornadoes which devastated the region.  I also made the point we undeniably will be helping many people who, when other regions of the US have experienced natural disasters (like Puerto Rico), were the ones screaming to NOT help those areas, as "THEIR WASTING MY TAXPAYER DOLLARS!"

Some people have called me out of line for making this simple observation, and think I should apologize.  I'm not sorry I said it and I will not back down.  I'm for helping victims of natural disasters, but I'm also for rubbing their hypocrisy in their faces while we do it.  It's the only way we'll teach these people they should be ashamed of their comments and actions, and it might be the only way to save the United States.

This weekend Frank Bruni had an exceptional editorial in the New York Times about how shameless the Trump administration is, and he's absolutely right.  Give it a read:

What Bruni so perfectly points out is how shamelessness is the greatest virtue in any modern day Republican.  For the same people who screamed how President Obama needed to resign after he called Kayne West a "jackass," because [paraphrasing] 'that level of language is beneath the office of the White House,' to now be applauding at how 'presidential' Trump is because at CPAC he called multiple investigations into him "bullsh!t" is a perfect example of how the Right has jettisoned their mortality.  The less shame you have, the higher position you can achieve in the Republican Party.

The GOP and their voters have become an upward focused excuse machine whose sole purpose is to validate Trump, his Administration, and all Republicans, no matter how much they railed against similar but far less egregious behavior in the past, no matter how indefensible the actions and comments which they're defending are.

We are dealing with the most shameless, unapologetic group of people in the history of this country.

Some examples?  I've written numerous times about any Christian who supports Trump.  We now find out via the Cohen testimony there might be additional payouts which Trump used to cover up affairs he's had with other women.  There could be 5 to 10 more Trump mistresses about, beyond the ones we already know about.  There's even a possibility Trump might've paid for a woman to have an abortion.  If it all is proven to be true, Trump's Chrisitan supporters will...PRAISE HIM MORE! Seriously!!!  They will, and talk about how a guy who (by all accounts) doesn't attend or practice any form of Chrisitan worship has been retroactively forgiven by God for his insane amount of inexcusable violations of Christian law.  Then they'll insist how President Obama, a man who wore his Christian faith on his sleeve, was always a fake Christian!

The Trump Administration is full of shameless people, with the king of shamelessness, Trump himself, sitting atop his dumpster fire with a grin on his face.  He's surrounded himself with a cast of characters (Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Felix Sater) who also excel at shameless behavior, incapable of emoting any level of remorse for their disgusting actions.  White House staffers who enter into the Trump fold either leave in haste or embrace the shameless standard.  Think of Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Mick Mulvany, people who at one time seemed to have a soul, but cashed it out the minute they entered into Trump's universe.

Look at how shameless all DC Republicans have become!  They're purposed ignoring the undeniable evidence against Trump which came to light in the Cohen Testimony, maintaining a 'destroy Cohen at all costs' myopic Trump defense.  Senators and Congresspeople who would've HOWLED at President Obama if he tried to declare a National Emergency for some non-emergency reason, or if Obama overruled the intelligence community to get his family members top level security clearances, are silently complacent with Trump's behavior, defending the same actions they would've furiously marched with pitchforks and torches on the White House for only three years ago.

Senator Lindsey Graham claimed he was best buddies with former Senator John McCain only two years ago.  Today, he's silent while his party vilifies McCain's legacy, mocking the former Senator with a hatred and despise the right usually reserves for Hillary Clinton.  Every time John McCain is ruthlessly mocked, Graham's shameless indifference gets harder and harder to watch.

This has trickled down to the state level too!  Former Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Daudt and his senior leadership boldfaced lied to the Governor, Congressional Democrats, and likely MN Senate Republicans, promising funding for the SWLRT line was going to be in one of his bills.  When they caught his lie, added the funding back into the bill, and sent it back to the House for approval, he frantically gaveled the House to a close and ran out the door.  He then spent the next few months fighting tooth and nail to kill the transportation project.  This is only one of numerous shameless acts (what about that credit card debt, Kurt) former Speaker Daudt has done, with a smile on his face!

Rep. Cal Bahr definitely called for violence against the Minnesota House Democrats who were writing common sense gun legislation.  He made his threat in the Capitol Rotunda.  There's a live feed video version of it.  It's crystal clear what he was encouraging the crowd to do.  When called out about it, he boldfaced lied about what he said, implying it was everyone else fault for hearing him say what he actually said, not what he wanted them to hear.  The media in Minnesota, relegated to accepting this shamelessness as a Republican virtue, have actually allowed his non-apologetic, lie of an excuse.

And shamelessness has infected the Republican voter as well.  When tornadoes hit North Minneapolis, not only did the Republicans in the MN House and Senate shamelessly ignore a basic function of government, natural disaster emergency relief, they were cheered on by delusional zealots who had created a false reality to vilify the mostly minority victims.  Righto's insisted "when tornadoes hit Rogers and Hugo, we didn't need the government's help!  We pulled ourselves up by our own boot-straps.  THOSE people should do the same thing."  Funny story, when tornadoes impacted Rogers and Hugo, the government sent emergency relief, relief which was gladly accepted by those communities.  The shamelessness of eagerly accepting help from the government, only to say "but your devastated neighborhood shouldn't get help because your community has a lot of minorities who vote Democrat" shows you where a lot of these Righto voters reside.

And what about the local news man who preached about government waste and personal responsibility for decades, now suing the state because he slipped and got hurt on ice at the Capitol, acting as if his past comments don't matter?  If the guy got hurt because of government malfeasance, he should get recourse, but I'm not the one who screamed about people needing to stop expecting the government to take care of them and how people needed to show personal responsibility.  HE WAS!

This gets me back to the tornado tragedy of this weekend.  It's unfortunate, but it takes this level of disaster for these people to realize their shameless ways are wrong.  It's like may of the other cases we've heard about over the last few years:  the family who railed agains Obamacare suddenly having a child with a serious health crisis, having to sell off everything in an attempt to save the child's life, realizing affordable healthcare is a good thing.  The guy who says we should always bend government to help the biggest corporations, realizing the big corporations have polluted his ground water and he has no recourse.  The people getting a far smaller tax refund, or having to pay more, because Trump's tax plan (which was going to give them billions) was a boldface lie.  Watching your 100 year old family farm be sold off to the highest bidder after the unnecessary trade war you encouraged ended up making your crops worthless, costing you your family's legacy.

I hope the people of Alabama and Georgia get the help they need, but there's a very likely chance Trump will say "Sorry, that money is going to my border wall."  It's hard to keep screaming 'Build that Wall' standing in front of your freshly flattened house, as you realize help from the government isn't coming, but considering how shameless some of these poeple are, a few will be chocking back tears as they insist the unnecessary border wall is more important than their well being.

Rubbing their past stances in their faces is the only chance we've got to waking these people up from this shameless cult of Trump.  There are only a handful of times we'll be able to so perfectly point out their lack of shame.  I'm not going to pass this up.

It's for their own good.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Blue State Ball 2019!

Time for the annual photo wrap up of the Blue State Ball, the annual get together my radio station does!  Let's go!

First off is the Venue.  The Blaisdell Mansion in Minneapolis has been converted into a top notch location.

The first VIP was the triumphant return of Thom Hartman, the national host and noted author.  He had an incredible speech on the power of the 'cult' and what you have to do to break the cult leader's spell.  He said he changed his speech topic after he watched Trump on CSPAN.

Our second VIP was the wildly intelligent and hilarious John Fuglesang.  He hosts his own Sirius XM show, and has been to the Twin Cities for the Blue State Ball, the Sexy Liberal Tour and various solo performances over the years.  His fan base is strong!

Our main political speakers included Minnesota's longest serving politician, Rep. Lyndon Carlson.

Crowd favorite and DFL candidate for MN Senate, Richard Painter.

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutch! 

Other politicians how showed up included State Auditor Julie Blaha.

Representative Kristin Bahner.

As well as Representatives from the House DFL majority Samantha Vang and Mike Freiberg.

The whole station crew was there too, staring with my main producers Brett and Hunter.

Host Doug Pagitt 

And the main crew, including Chad, the station owner.

And the best dressed man of the night, producer Eric!

A lot of our other hosts were there too, like Robert Pilot and Uncle Curtis, Paul Metsa, and Ellie Krug.

Even former host Mike McIntee.

And here are two very important people.  Janet Robert and former Rep. Bill Luther are the ones who are responsible for Minneapolis/St. Paul having a progressive radio station.  They started it long ago and their commitment to the format is why we are one of the few remaining markets with a liberal talk presence.

And they let this fool back on stage too!

And we can't forget the great listeners who showed up!

We partied into the evening!

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it a great night.  It was a blast.  
We'll see you in 2020! 

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Friday Link for 3/1/19

For this week, I want to post something which I never knew existed, but is freaking spectacular.  In 1979, when Monty Python's Life of Brian was going into theaters, there were a lot of Christian folk who were offended.  The movie, which follows a young man, Brian, whose life takes plenty of twists and turns at the time of Jesus's rise in popularity and eventual crucifixion, does not pull any punches.

The movie doesn't mock Jesus, but it does create parallel moments in which Monty Python inputs 1979 reaction and rationality into first century Biblical sorties.  It does mock the people of the time, a prime example being the people at the Sermon on the Mount who were late, and hence were not near the front.  Also there is an all time classic scene with their version of Pontius Pilate who happens to have an unfortunate speech impediment.  Regardless, nuance is throw out when people feel their religion is being attacked.  The movie was banned in many communities.

Sometimes it's fun to go revisit historical moments, and 40 years ago, John Cleese and Michael Palin headed to the British show "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" for a discussion on the movie.  Joining them for the discussion is the Bishop of Southwark Melvyn Stockwood and a noted Chrisitan Malcolm Muggeridge.  To say this gets heated is an understatement.  This is almost a precursor of what we consider modern political discussion.

I highly enjoy the first part which is a fantastic look into the creative and decision making process of the film.  Cleese at the beginning of part two makes a very good point about the final scene and what it was actually portraying.

Both sides do make good points, although the 'pro-church' side does come across near hysterical at times.  It's the poise and determination of Cleese and Palin which is a joy to witness.  They fiercely defend their work, pointing out the church's failures and hypocrisy at getting so furious over a fictional comedy movie.  The 'pro-church' side's promise of how Monty Python's Life of Brian will soon be a long forgotten cultural waste is woefully off.  Their insistence people shouldn't see the movie drove people to the theaters.  Oops.

I've let my kids watch it (minus the Brian reveal scene) and they think it's hilarious.

This is long, but worth it.  It's in four parts.  Music at the end!

Have a great weekend everyone.  See you at the Blue State Ball!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Fall from Grace

With the passing of my father, I haven't been in the mood to write, but after some events of the last few weeks, I have something to say.  First, a little story.

I'm Catholic (disclaimer, you do or don't do whatever it is you do or don't want to do). Occasionally, like on February 16th, I'll go to the Saturday evening service, especially if I want to sleep in on Sunday.  It's a great part of being Catholic.  As the church service began, the procession to the alter had a scary moment.  One of the men who was doing a reading became dizzy as he climbed the stairs.  He was medium height, with a bit of girth.  My guess is he's easily 250 pounds.  That 250 pounds started to fall backwards.

My priest, Father Bill, is not a large man.  In his 60's, and with some health issues of his own, my guess would be he's a light 170 pounds.  He saw the gentlemen stumbling backwards ahead of him, and without even hesitating he rushed forward to try to catch him.  Physics wasn't on his side, as the larger man tumbled backwards, caught the priest about about mid level, and, like a bowling ball, knocked him and a few others rushing to help in various directions.

The good news is no one was hurt.  The man informed us all he was on a medication which occasionally makes him dizzy and it just so happened he got dizzy right as he stepped up onto the top of the stairs.  Father Bill was okay too.  He looked a little shaken, but he was quickly back into his good spirits.

Bill never hesitated.  He ran towards the falling man, trying to catch him with zero concern for his own well being.  Moments like this are a reminder of why I'm Catholic, why I like to believe in the positivity and love which my religion is supposed to be about.  If you're falling, they'll try to catch you.

This is why it's so sad to see the far right Evangelical's version of Christianity.  They've purged out all  of Jesus' compassion and caring, and scream how Christian teachings have molded to their individual political beliefs (regardless of how little piety their beliefs embody), self validating their embracing of anti-Christian things.

Today, Mike Lindell, the FAR RIGHT head of the Minnesota based My Pillow company, showed up at CPAC, claiming God anointed Trump to win in 2016.  It doesn't matter most of Trump's policies go directly against Jesus' teaching; seriously, they are the ABSOLUTE OPPOSITE of what Jesus told us to do.  It doesn't matter Trump has had multiple affairs against his third wife; including hooking up with a porn star while cheating on his mistress while cheating on Melania right after she gave birth.  And it doesn't matter Trump never goes to church.  Seriously, Trump DOES NOT GO TO CHURCH!  These people (the same people who insisted a near weekly visitor to church in former President Barack Obama was actually a secret Muslim pretending to be Christian!) just don't care about reality.  They're so desperate to feel as if they're right, they'll ignore the blinding evidence to the contrary smacking them repeatedly in the head (mocking the handicapped, threatening to sexually assault a married woman, his failure at helping people wiped out by natural disasters, baby prisons, his constant insults and unacceptable online behavior, losing THOUSANDS of children Trump had ripped away from their parents at the border, and then shrugging their shoulders when their horrific mistake was exposed).

This blind worship is the real reason people are leaving Christianity.  Far right Evangelicals are determined to make Christianity bow to their political beliefs. When you purge the love, compassion, peace and humanity out of Christianity, and then edit down the remainder of the Bible to fit a specific narrative, it makes a product which isn't welcoming or inspiring.  It pushes people away.  The only people left are the ones who claim to love the Bible, but who have never really read it.  They only want their political opinions validated, and the far right Evangelical version of Jesus (hate others you don't like, Jesus loves guns, needy people are just lazy, never welcome in strangers from strange lands, discrimination is biblical, worship money) gives them validation.

I have zero doubt most far right Evangelicals would try to help the falling man, but if they knew the man was gay, or if they knew the man was an undocumented immigrant, or if they knew the person falling had had an abortion, would they still try to catch them?  I honestly feel many of them would allow the person to fall, and afterwards, as they tried to hide their snickering, they'd preach about how bad they felt, how this was Jesus punishing them, and they'll pray for them.

Before far right Evangelical guy comes at me and screams "how dare you," I'm not the one who's caused myself and many others to think this way, YOU are.  The far right is killing my religion, and I've had enough.  Far right Evangelicals have become heretics, and heretics like to think they're divine, even though they're hopelessly lost.

If someone is falling in front of me, I hope I'll have the courage and speed to catch them, regardless of whomever they are.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Friday Link for 2/22/19

I'm sad.  See my previous post for details.

Short and sweet this week.  Here's a great compilation of all of the winners from the Best Song category of the Oscars.  A lot of great songs.  I found it interesting that as we had this debate over the holidays about 'Baby it's Cold Outside,' the song is actually from a movie and it won the Oscar.

I went to a wedding once where the song during the service was 'The Morning After.'  I leaned over to a friend and said, "Am I crazy or is this the song from the Poseidon Adventure, where the ship is turned upside down by a tidal wave and kills most people on board?"  They're still married.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


My father, Charles B. McNeil, has passed away.  He was a great Minnesotan.

Born in 1929, he lived to a month shy of his 90th birthday.  I will always remember the laughter he and my mother generated together.  He raised 7, SEVEN, kids and they have all been successful in life.  He was an outstanding hunter, an amazing fisherman and a top notch all around outdoorsman.  He has a master dog owner and trainer.  He was a fine chef, the greatest grill cook I've ever seen.  He taught me to love Minnesota's traditional foods, like pasties, wild rice, wild game, and shore lunch. He made the best chicken I've ever had.

He found great pleasure in the simplest things, teaching me to enjoy life as it occurred around me.  He loved nature.  He taught me the value of hard work with intention, how to do the job right the first time.  He was always the hardest worker, only leaving the heavy lifting to me when he himself could no longer do it.  He taught me flowers always brighten up a room.  He loved sports, especially hockey, but never placed them on a higher perch than they needed to be.

He never stopped trying to understand me, even when I was beyond understanding.  He loved my wife as if she was his own daughter.  He always perked up with my kids, his grandkids.  They loved his stories and idolized him.  He taught me to respect the past generations.  He was a wonderful son.  He taught me what it meant to love your family.

He was incredibly intelligent, and always made me prove my point. He had a dry humor which was usually matched with his charming smile and laugh.  He was a magnificent father and a great man. I was lucky to have him in my life.  He will indeed be missed.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Friday Link for 2/15/19

To start off, how about a great movie trailer.  What happens when a guy wakes up and discovers the Beatles never existed.  He remembers the songs, but no one else does.  Good concept!  This trailer makes me want to see 'Yesterday.'

Next up, Bad Lip Reading takes on the State Of The Union Speech.  Let's be honest, if Trump actually said any of these things I don't think anyone would be shocked.

And finally tonight, Samantha Bee talks about the Green New Deal, and of course the psychotic far right reaction to it.  Hey, we're only trying to save the planet...

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Newspapers Kill Themselves

Most of you probably missed a barn burner of a story which ran in the Minneapolis Star Tribune's sports section on Tuesday, and by doing so, you missed a prime example of why newspapers are dying.  Their committing suicide.

The article was a simple fluff piece on high school boys basketball, covering the rematch between Edina and Hopkins.  The article was clearly written from a pro-Edina viewpoint.  Edina is probably the wealthiest town in the state, and where they've dominated in prep ice hockey, they've fallen behind in high school basketball.  The story's main point was how the Edina team would be going for a sweep of Hopkins on Tuesday night, the top ranked team in state.

So far nothing special.  The article talked about how really bad Edina was, having lost to every other ranked team they've played in their conference, but this game Tuesday night was a glimmer of hope on what has been a disappointing Edina season.  Earlier in the season, Edina pulled off the upset at home, knocking off Hopkins, setting up a story line for the game, albeit a incredibly weak one.  For the record, Hopkins manhandled Edina in the rematch on Tuesday night, a score you had a hard time finding in Wednesday's paper.  The Star Tribune, which had featured the game mightily in the previous days paper, didn't even include the score in the prep sports round up, only in the tiny print which listed all the statewide scores.

At this point I can hear you all saying "AND..."  Okay, so let me backtrack a little bit to when I was a kid.

When I was young, the newspapers were far thicker and the content was far richer.  When I was reading the newspaper in high school, it was at the beginning the sales fueled downward trend of quality and integrity, a trend which today has left most papers a hollow shell of their former selves (the ones which are still even printing).  And the 1980's papers were nothing when compared to the newspapers from the decades earlier.  Still the 1980's paper had extensive news, opinion, and information.  These papers still had some guts.

Back then, this fluff story on Edina would've never even been written. The Star Tribune on Tuesday told us the Edina team wasn't very good, unworthy of the column space they gave them, but yet they gave it to them anyway.  The pre-game story warranted a tiny blurb about a revenge game, minus the pro-Edina slant.  The next day, the 80's paper would've published a recap of the #1 team in state winning a game, but in 2019, with Edina being on the losing end, that specific point had to be buried.

Papers today, whether it's the sports, news, opinion, or variety section, filter their writing through a prism.  The goal is to write stories which will make the paper appeal to the wealthy communities, and, in turn, maybe encourage the business owners who live in those wealthy communities to possibly buy ads in the paper.  They write fluff pieces which have little importance to anyone but a handful of people in the specific suburb, making the paper FAR less interesting to the average reader.

The Star Tribune not only created a story out of thin air, they also went the other way.  If the Edina boys would've pulled off the upset, the Star Tribune would've had a major story with good visibility, guaranteed.  Instead, Edina lost, so the final score had to be buried, forcing people interested in the number one team in the state to have to get their magnifying glass out to see the tiny print.

The modern newspaper writes fluff pieces with limited appeal.  They don't write stories with neutrality, instead they focus on a blatant favoritism geared to the specific communities where the ad money lives.  And when the news is negative for those same ad money suburbs, they bury it.

Newspapers can't fix themselves at this point.  They will die because they're circling a smaller and smaller narrow demographic, sacrificing the news, both good and bad, to drive their specific narrative; "please buy ads with us!"  I just don't see how they pull themselves out of their death spiral.  It would take them putting out a newspaper not seen in decades, and I frankly don't think most newsrooms even have the slightest idea how to do that anymore.

Yes I know, it is only a high school basketball game story Matt.  You're right, but sometimes the little stories show you how far our print media has fallen.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Friday Link for 2/8/19

For this Friday, we revisit nuclear annihilation!

When I was in high school back in 1983, there was a "for God's sake, maybe we should realize how deadly and dangerous nuclear weapons are" genre coming out of Hollywood.  I think a lot of it had to do with Reagan, and how freaking flippant he was about suggesting the US would just nuke the other guys before they could nuke us.  There is a reason why Ronald Reagan became Ronnie Ray-Gun!

The most recognizable entity in this genre was 'The Day After,' the star studded nuclear apocalypse movie which came with a warning:  "These images might be too terrifying for some viewers."  You know what else is terrifying?  Dying instantly in a inferno blast or dying slowly form nuclear poisoning.  Republicans HATED 'The Day After.'  How dare you inform us of what our nuclear buildup will eventually lead to!

Another entry from this genre is the Friday Link.  'Special Bulletin' was a fairly well done nuclear disaster film, done in the form of breaking news on the fictitious RBS network.  You see a lot of recognizable faces on the 'broadcast,' and some elements are WAY too formulated, but I remember this movie having a far bigger impact on me and my friends at the time.  I think it was because it felt like you were watching an actual news report.  Goodbye Charleston!

Thank goodness we finally woke up from all of that and...wait a second...Trump's undoing WHAT?!?

Let's hope we don't have to revisit this genre in the future.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The More Things Change...

Last night was the State Of The Union speech and many Democrats this morning were beaming.  The showing by the Democrats, especially many of the freshman women, was the main story of the evening.  By doing nothing outside of sitting with disapproving looks on their faces they controlled the room.  It was an undeniable victory for the Democrats.

Another thing happened yesterday, something with far less of a positive outcome for the Democrats, showing us the frighteningly familiar trajectory the Democrats are currently on.  In Minnesota Senate District 11 (MNSD11), there was a special election to fill a seat which the Democrats have held for decades.  Last night, the Democratic candidate lost to the Republican.  I'll be the first to admit weather did not play nice, but if this race would've happened in November, the Democrats would've won MNSD11 by 10+ points, easy.  The momentum Democrats had coming out of November 2018 is gone, replaced by a self congratulatory love fest, the same exact self-congratuslatorism which derailed the Democrats after 2008.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Let me break down MNSD11 a little.

The MNSD11 seat became open because Governor Tim Walz appointed the Democratic Senator to a position in his Administration.  Some people have been critical of Walz choosing a Democrat who was in a vulnerable district, but MNSD11 was won by the DFL in 2016 with 55%.  The northern part of the district is Duluth suburbs, all with a deep blue slant.  Walz should have the ability to choose whomever he wants for his Administration, not just Democrats from safe Democratic districts, but even so, this was a district the Democrats have held for a LONG time.  It was supposedly a safe DFL seat.

The Duluth News Tribune chimed in on the race, misrepresenting the Republican as the union choice.  The Republican, Jason Rarick had a total of four union endorsements, while his opponent, Stu Lourey, the son of the outgoing Senator Tony Lourey, had 11 listed on his website alone, nearly three times as many.  Regardless, the Duluth News Tribune presented Rarick as the union choice, a characterization (along with their gushing endorsement) which helped the Republicans.

I do think there was a level of burnout on the Lourey family holding that seat.  Tony Lourey won the seat after his mother Becky Lourey decided not to run again in 2006.  She initially won her seat in 1990.  It does become somewhat of a head scratcher how the local DFL'ers didn't see the potential danger of a single family trying to hold onto a seat for 30 years, but then again, the name had been successful for a long time.

The limited union support the Republican got also hurt the Minnesota DFL.  The pro-Rarick unions seemed to be out in force door knocking for the Republican in SD11, negating other unions who were door knocking for the DFL.  If you're like me, you might be scratching you head trying to figure out how ANY union would support a Republican in this day and age, especially considering their goal is to wipe out all unions.  I talked with one of the union heads on my radio show and he defended the union's decision.  His main point has the most validity; the union voted to endorse the Republican, and union management won't stop what membership wants.  That's fair.  It's crazy to see people vote for their own firing squad, but if they want to, it's on them.

The union head said he had assurances from Rarick he would not push legislation which would outright destroy unions (such as Right To Work), but Rarick expressed this after he stated on a 2014 Chamber questionnaire he'd work to destroy the unions if he got the chance.  At best he's lying and/or inconsistent (hence untrustworthy), AND he does represent the Republicans, who've single handedly brought unions to their knees over the last 40 years.  The Republicans want to kill all unions and all workers rights.  That's their policy, and their proud of it!  I feel endorsing an inconsistent Republican because they'll 'think about whether or not they'll kill your union' is a risk you shouldn't take.

The union could've endorsed the Democrat, the candidate who'd preserve the union guaranteed, someone looking to strengthen unions, make sure workers make a good salary, good benefits and good healthcare, but they picked unicorns and rainbows.  My guess; there are a lot of people in the union who 'relate' to what the MAGA hat really represents.  All they were looking for was the barest minimum of assurances their Republican vote was a flimsy sliver of 'pro-union.'  I'll be paying attention to Rarick's voting record to determine how 'pro-union' he really is.

But at the end of the day, the weather, false anti-nepotism, the Duluth News Tribune and the minority of unions didn't cost the Democrats MNSD11.  The Democrats did.

You may dislike Republicans, but one thing they do which I respect is vote.  They ALWAYS vote.  Sure, their true motivations might be draped in an ugliness veil, but they show up every election, no matter if it's presidential, off year, odd year, local, school board, or special.  They always do.  What decides elections today is one simple metric:  How many Democrats show up.  What happened in MNSD11 reminds me a heck of a lot of the Bloomington area MN House special election from a few years back, where the Republicans picked up a seat in a +10 Democratic district, mainly because the Democrats were non-existent.

Democrats have a really bad habit.  When they finally do show up for an election, they become enamored in the victory celebration, lavishing themselves with self induced pats on the backs, as they bask in the blue ribbon they've anointed themselves.  They imagine their victory as the end of the movie, marching heads high into the distance, arm in arm with all the rest of the Democrats who showed up, and...roll credits!  Same exact thing happened in 2008.  As the Democrats were celebrating, 2010 happened, dooming this country to ten years of darkness.

The Democrats all showed up in 2018.  It was a tremendous showing, one which destroyed the fixed game the Republicans had created.  The MNSD11 race was the first test of this supposed newfound Democratic political resurgence, and we failed miserably.  No one cared. No one showed up. There was no urgency.  There was no fire.  The Democrats were still patting themselves on the back, impressing themselves with tales of 2018, as they created new social media memes to crack themselves up.  In turn they ignored an easy lay up of a victory.

Meanwhile the Republicans convinced a few unions to fight for them, got 'help' from a newspaper who misinterpreted reality, and banked on Democrats staying at home, which they did!  Expect this same exact strategy to be played out over the next two years.

Democrats, this is not a one time deal.  This is not a feel good movie.  This is not a 'one and done' situation.  This is not a 50 meter dash.  It's a lifelong endeavor.  This is EVERY freaking election, no matter how big the race.  If we don't change the Democrat's dynamic at it's core, getting Democrats to act like every one of these elections matter, any gains we made in 2018 will be a faint memory, drowned out by Republicans popping champaign corks for the next 4 years.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Five Years

Five years ago I gave up alcohol.  I've never regretted the decision.

Alcoholic is a wide ranging term.  It can refer to the person who's hopelessly consumed by alcohol, incapable of anything outside of their quest for more liquor, but it can also be used to describe me. I was a normal guy who just liked having a drink every once in awhile, then every few days, then every night, then some afternoons.  The natural stresses of life started to pile up and alcohol was an easy device to mellow me out, until I started looking forward to the next drink instead of enjoying the drink I just had.  I didn't get busted for DWI or get fired from my job, but I knew if I continued down the path I was on, it would only be a matter of time.  I made the decision to quit on my own.

Nothing is ever so linear. There were other reasons my alcohol intake was a problem, but I'll leave those for another day.

Giving up alcohol is not easy, especially in a country which seems to be trying to pour the booze down your gullet.  We're so programmed to want booze we don't realize how drinking is sold to us as 'a necessary part of your lives.'  Tough day at work?  How about a few drinks!  Relationship problems?  Alcohol will turn your frown upside down!  Having a get together with friends?  Well everyone should bring a six pack!

Holidays are the toughest.  Most us us have memories of a nice glass of wine with the meal, or a hot toddy with dessert.  It was the hardest hurdle I had to jump to finally get past alcohol's deceptive nature.

Sports pushes an astounding amount of liquor on it's viewers.  Drinks at the game with liquor ads everywhere you look, the near demand to go drink the game away at a sports bar disguised as a family friendly venue, and the broadcast itself, drenched in liquor ads, each one implying good times and hot fun are only a drink away.  You don't realize how much liquor is marketed towards you in sports until you quit drinking.  You're gobsmacked when you finally take inventory of it.

I want to be VERY clear; I do not think people who drink are bad people.  On the contrary, drink up if you don't have a problem with addiction.  That's your right, and alcohol has been part of our culture since the first groups of humans started to get together in communities.  But if alcohol is becoming one of the more important things in your life, then you probably need to step away.

The decision to quit was mine.  I woke up in late summer of 2013 and realized if I didn't stop drinking, it was only a matter of time before I lost.  I don't consider myself a particularly vicious alcoholic, but it still took me months to completely stop (outside of communion at church).  I knew some things had to be done, such as removing alcohol from the house and not getting myself into social situations where booze was around, tempting me (there are some friends I don't see nearly as much as I used to), but it had to be done.  Even so, and with a very supportive family, it took me six months to finally be clear.

Let me put forward something to anyone thinking they need to sober up.  I didn't quit with Alcoholics Anonymous.  There are a lot of ways to quit drinking and AA is only one of them.  I didn't go to a fancy expensive treatment clinic, nor did I enter into extensive therapy and group sessions.  I did this my own way, and you can too, regardless of whether you embrace AA or if you take a different path.

AA is a fine organization, and for some people it's a literal life saver.  I tried it three times, and each time I had a horrific experience which only made things worse.  It also bothered me greatly when I would talk with a recovering AA alcoholic, and I'd mention I wasn't sure if AA would work for me personally, they'd give me the AA ultimatum; 'Either you go do AA with me, or stop bothering me!'  That's not a support ideology I agree with.  AA works for many people, but it's one of many options.

I had a neighbor who was recovering with AA who did help, never judging me for not swearing to the AA code.   Larry gave me some great guidance, and I went to a sensational counselor, Bob, who taught me two codes which helped me greatly.  The first one is simple:

  • Love yourself
  • Love others in your life
  • And have others love you in return

I've been lucky enough to have all three of those from the beginning.  Surrounding yourself with people who want to see you get better makes quitting a lot easier.

The other thing which Bob told me to do is to always have the following three things in my life:

  • Exercise, or at least moderate physical activity
  • Embrace whatever you believe in as a higher power (or for atheists, find something you enjoy which gives your life a smile, and do it on a regular basis)
  • Regularly talk with someone about your recovery.

The last one is so important.  It's never good to go through life avoiding talking about your main struggles.  I talk with my counselor on a regular basis (Bob retired last year and so now I meet with another fine counselor, David), and I talk with my kids on a regular basis too.  It's been very important letting them have a path of communication to me, giving them an outlet.  It's important for them to see you working to make yourself better.  It's made me a better dad.

Final thoughts on this.  If you are drinking too much:

You're making some really horrible choices, you probably don't realize it.

Ask yourself if drinking is an unhealthy vehicle you use to avoid the uncomfortable things in life.

You will be shocked at how much better your mind works in the months after you quit drinking.

You'll be healthier almost immediately after quitting.

Quit and you'll save an insane amount of money.

I'm done preaching.  Go live your own life, one that I hope makes you smile.  Mine does.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Friday Link for 2/1/19

Three political videos for you this week.  Be careful for some rougher language.

Let's start off with Ellen Page's raw, real and righteous plea on the Stephen Colbert show.  The real fireworks start at about 6:50, but the interview as a whole is pretty solid.  We need more people to call out  this insane attempt to push a false debate upon the American people about whether or not this country has taken a nasty racist and bigoted turn.  It has, thanks to Trump and Pence.  When they said 'Make America Great Again,' they were winking at the worst of humanity.

Next up is an amazingly well done video from Louisiana where they talk about how the Republicans tax handouts to major corporations has led to a massive shortfall of tax dollars the community needs for it's own citizens.  Yet once again another example of how true Republican ideals being implemented are specifically designed to help the extremely wealthy at the expense of the vast majority of the people.

Finally, how the heck did I not know about Randy Rainbow?  His Tango video (which I posted on social media earlier this week) is a hoot, but here's a catchy little number about Trump's favorite things.

Way to end with a smile on your face.  Patriots over the Rams 27 - 21.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Defrocked Saints

I like sports.  It's part of the American culture, and at various times in my career, I've worked at a radio station in a sports capacity.

I know people don't usually follow me for sports takes, but I have been taking a lot of grief lately about my thoughts on a specific football story, and I just need to vent.

In the NFC Championship game, the LA Rams beat the New Orleans Saints 26-23 in overtime to advance to the Super Bowl.  It was a hard hitting entertaining game, but the game is only known for one play, the non-pass interference call on the LA Rams which the Saints are convinced was the difference maker in them going to the Super Bowl verses where they are now, staying at home.

It was a blown call.  Pass interference did indeed happen, but my point after the game was it wasn't the blown call which cost the Saints, rather New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton being one of the WORST coaches I've ever seen.  Since then, I've been attacked by rabid Saints fans.  I'm still 100% convinced Payton's stupidity and bravado is what defrocked the Saints.

Let me get three things out of the way.  First off, Sean Payton shouldn't even be a coach in the league, not after the insane Bounty Scandal.  Payton pooled together a slush fund to reward Saints players who injured opponents, hence fulfilling a 'bounty' on the opposing player.  The NFL had irrefutable evidence of this, and even after the league had informed the Saints organization they were being investigating, Payton continued with his on the field head hunting.  In the end, he was suspended for an entire season, but frankly, he should've never been allowed to coach at the pro levels again.

Second, the New Orleans Saints, led by one of the all time greatest quarterbacks in Drew Brees, should have at least three Super Bowl trophies, if not more.  Payton is such a bad coach he's wasted one of the all time great's careers, a guy in Brees who deserves so much more than what he's received with Payton.

Finally, Payton is a grade 'A' jackass.  He just is.  He loves being it.

Let me set the stage for why the Saints should've won against the Rams.  Late in the 4th quarter, the score was 20-20.  Drew Brees threw a 43 yard pass to get the Saints to the LA 13 yard line as the game hit the two minute warning (1:58 to be exact).

LA had only two timeouts, so if the Saints simply ran the ball three times, they would've burned off at least a minute of the remaining time, had a chip shot field goal to give them the lead, and then kicked the ball deep into Rams territory, giving them a minute and no timeouts to get down the field for a field goal to tie the game.

Running the ball three times at this point is not some bizarre strategy.  This is pretty much what EVERY other coach would've done.  That's not what Payton did.

The first down play was an ill advised incomplete pass which stopped the clock after only three seconds had expired (1:55), to which the Saints then took a timeout.  Second down was a run play for no gain, taking another 6 seconds off the clock (1:49).  LA had to burn a timeout at this point. Third down was the pass with the blown pass interference call.  A few things about this pass.  I originally felt the PI call wasn't made because the pass was not really catchable.  Even after watching the review I still think it was likely going to be an incomplete pass, OR the receiver Lewis would've had to step out of bounds to catch it, negating the pass and stopping the clock.  Even if he had caught it without pass interference, it was still a borderline first down, likely short, meaning they'd have to kick the field goal anyway.  Regardless, this 'incomplete pass' stopped the clock again, leaving 1:41 on the clock as the Saints kicked the field goal to take the lead.

Seventeen seconds.  That's all Sean Payton managed to burn off the clock, and even more egregious was him leaving the Rams with one of their timeouts.  That's mind boggling.  A decent coach would've left the Rams in a far tougher situation, but not Payton.

Then Saints fans want to forget how the Rams marched down the field, kicking a 48 yard field goal to tie the game with 15 seconds left.  They want you to forget the Saints won the coin toss for the ball in overtime and four plays later, the Saints offensive line allowed penetration which tipped a Brees pass into the hands of a Rams defender. Five plays later, the Rams kicked their way into the Super Bowl, a final drive the Saints failed to stop.

Sean Payton cost the Saints the Super Bowl, plain and simple.  He screwed up the series after the two minute warning, and then he allowed the Rams to tie the game, and then he watched as his team failed in OT.  The reason the Saints fans are focusing on the blown PI call is because it's easier to blame the officials as opposed to your own head coach for the loss.

To be fair, let me point out an even more boneheaded mistake from the NFL, albeit a team's single mistake as opposed to Payton's career of failure. The Chicago Bears could've rested their starters in week 17 of the regular season, allowing the Vikings to make the playoffs.  They would've destroyed the Vikings at home in the first round of the playoffs, instead of losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.  They then would've destroyed the Rams in the 2nd round, and would've likely beat either the Saints or Cowboys to get to the Super Bowl.  Instead, it was FAR more important for the Bears to make a regular season statement against the Vikings, as opposed to making a far more important statement in the playoffs.

Would've, could've, should've, but I will state (without a doubt) the Saints would be in the Super Bowl if not for the incredible ineptitude of Sean Payton.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Friday Link for 1/25/19

For this week, I want to go to Cheers.

I was thinking about this show as I was down visiting my dad.  He's having some health issues, so I visited him and my mom in South Carolina.

You start to remember things about your parents when you look back at their lives, especially how you interacted with them.  Back in the 70's and 80's, most nights were my dad coming home, getting a few drinks in him (he had seven kids.  I'd have a few too), reading the evening edition of the Providence Journal, and then starting a slow meal making process as they watched the evening news.  Afterwards they'd put on one of their favorite TV shows.  They loved This Old House, and The Muppet Show.  They also would follow which movies would be airing on the networks, making sure to catch the comedies.

I will never forget my parents laughing hysterically at Cheers.  They loved that show.

For my dad and mom, here are two compilations.

What I loved about Cheers wasn't the show, but how I got to hear my parents laugh.

Have great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Brilliance of Clint Watts

Clint Watts is a man who's been setting off alarm bells about Trump for two years.  The former FBI investigator and current distinguished research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute has been trying to warn us all Trump is compromised, a puppet of the Russians, and unless we do something about it, our democracy might not survive.

This is a reposting of an insanely epic Twitter thread from Watts, where he basically breaks down all the connections between Trump and the Russians.  He did this off the top if his head (admitting he's probably missed more than a few), displaying a litany of evidence proving Trump's compromised status.

Show these to everyone, especially the Trump apologists.  At any other time in this country's history, Trump would be in jail by now.  Instead, he's surrounded by a legion of zealots ready to fall upon swords.