Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Speech I Wish Tony Evers Would Make

My Fellow Wisconsinites,

Thank you so much for electing me to be your next Governor.  It will be an honor and a privilege to serve you as the chief executive of the great state of Wisconsin.

As many of you know, since I took office, the Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate decided to throw a pity party temper tantrum, and working with outgoing sore loser Governor Scott Walker, undid the fabric of Wisconsin's Democracy.  They've dramatically pulled back the power of the Executive Branch, and shifted that power to themselves in the Legislative Branch.  What they did can no longer be described as three separate branches of government, with checks and balances to keep all branches honest.  We now have a Legislative Branch more powerful than the other two branches, something the founders of our state (and American Democracy) never intended, as well as a Governor whose power to run the state disappeared with a stroke of a pen.  Through their machinations, the Governor of Wisconsin is pretty much a ceremonial position, with dramatically limited power.

When I was elected to be Governor, the people who voted for me were expecting me to take over the same exact office Scott Walker is vacating.  Now, after Republicans lost total control over Madison, they've disrespected the voters of Wisconsin.  They've negated the election results by taking the path of undermining your mandate, as dictated to them by you, the residents of Wisconsin.

This is why I'm making this solemn, but resolute pledge.  I, as Governor, will not sign one piece of Legislation, including emergency relief for storm damage and natural disasters, until the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate restore the powers of the Governor's office to the levels they themselves were content with under Scott Walker.

I want to apologize first to the people who might be in line for emergency relief funds in the future. With my limited powers remaining, I will direct the state agencies I still control to help you in any way possible through these trying times.  I know this might seem like I'm taking my frustrations with the Wisconsin Republicans out on you, but I take no pleasure in such a serious and far reaching stance.  Let me explain how I came to make this decision.

The Wisconsin Republican Party are a bunch of liars.  If Scott Walker would've won re-election, they would've NEVER muted his powers.  This decision was hyper-partisan, a result of their losing the election and refusing to relinquish the control they've had for eight years.  I've heard the leaders of the Senate and Assembly imply, now that they have neutered the Governor's office as much as they have, they hope I can get past my partisan feelings and work with them to move Wisconsin forward. Their brazen disrespect of me, the voters, and the Democracy of Wisconsin is outrageous.

Since this is Wisconsin, let me explain what they did in football terms.  They decided to do away with kickoffs and punts, and will instead place the football one inch outside of my goal whenever one of us has the ball.  They contend this a 'fair, impartial' starting position.  Then the Republicans insist I'm the bad guy because I'm not willing to move the ball another half inch towards my goal.  I've decided it's in my best interests, and the best interest of the state of Wisconsin, to not even play this incredibly fixed version of the game.

But the real terrifying element of what the Wisconsin Republicans did is how un-American it really is.  This is some third world, evil despot kind of maneuvering.  When Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was President of Russia for the first time, he insisted all the power to run the country needed to be filtered through his office.  Then, when he became Prime Minister, he re-wrote the government's rules so everything would then flow through the Prime Minister's office.  Then, when he re-assumed the Presidency, he reverted control of the Government back to that office.  This is the same tactic the Wisconsin Republican Party is employing to maintain power over the state.  If I was to accept this, and then leave office in four years, replaced by a Republican Governor, OF COURSE they would be insisting the powers they stripped from me need to be restored.  What the Wisconsin Republicans are doing is crumbling the Democratic foundation of this state, and this country.

My decision is a line in the sand, a last stand to save the Democracy imagined by the founding father's of the United States, and by the founders of the State of Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin Republicans are mad with power and I will not idly stand by to see them destroy this state for personal gain.

There is no negotiation.  The first bill I will sign as governor will be the bill restoring the Executive Branch to full power.  Give me back the same powers which the voters wanted me to have, which you would've left in place if Walker would've won re-election.  Then, and only then, can we discuss moving Wisconsin forward.

Regardless, I'll continue to work through the court system to undo your illegal actions.  I know the Republicans will label me petty and bitter, but this stance is solely due to the Republicans own pettiness and bitterness; a partisan temper tantrum after the voters of this state told them they no longer wanted the Republicans in the Governor's mansion.

In the end, I'm trying to save Wisconsin, and Democracy itself, from the Wisconsin Republican's Machiavellian, illegal, anti-American power grab.

Republicans, the ball is now in your court.  I await the Executive Branch Restoration bill which I vow to sign immediately.

Oh, and Go Packers!

You're Sincerely,

Tony Evers

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/28/18

First off, let me say I've proudly made three non Friday Link posts on Progressive Citizen X! And the good news is I should have two to three more before the year is out!

For a New Years edition of the Link, three great videos, all going back in time.

First off is the great Mr. Bean and a New Year's Eve Celebration episode, one I hadn't seen before.  Rowan Atkinson was so good at live action comedy.

Second up is a bit of a revisiting of last New Year's Friday Link, where I posted the entirety of Charlie Chaplin's classic film, Gold Rush.  That movie has a pivotal scene (and an all time classic movie scene) which takes place over New Years Eve.  Last years post was removed but I did find the particular scene.  Enjoy!

Finally an amazing piece of historic film from 1914.  This is a New Year's Dance in San Francisco.  It's a minute and a half of people dancing the night away.  Unsure if it's New Years from 1913 to 1914, or if it's 1914 to 1915, but needless to say, it's 100+ years old. I imagine no one at that time thought they'd be remembered 100 years later.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve everyone!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Lemming Parade

With the daily mountain of incompetence coming out of the White House, and a more unhinged Trump clearly needing someone to reign him in, most people are surprised to see Trump with 35% of the US population still loyally approving of him.  This 35% are the ones insisting he's the "best ever," touting his massive list of accomplishments, a list which only they can see.  These are the people I've labeled as 'hating Democrats more than they love their life, their health, their kids, their religion and their country.'  I firmly stand by my description.

What I disagree with is how media experts try to give Trump credit for this 35% by insisting he can 'relate to the common man.' That's bullcrap!  Trump has no knowledge, and no interest in learning about, the regular American.  He knows if he floats veiled racism and bigotry, racists and bigots will show up to his rallies, cheering on their Pope of Hatred like he's a rock star, but he doesn't care about those people, and he never will.

To understand why such utter incompetence has such a loyal following you have to understand a fundamental element of the modern Republican voter; they've been brainwashed. I'm dead serious.  These people have been fed decades of propaganda and it's success shows in their unwavering faith in Trump, even as he's proven to be an unmitigated disaster on a daily basis.

There are four specific moments which have gotten Republican voters to this point.

  1. Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America crew.  In the shock of the Bill Clinton victory in 1992, a victory which seemed impossible nine months earlier, a new element of the Republican Party rose.  Led by the definitive evil which is Newt Gingrich, they clung to the idea Republican voters were so desperate to believe they were right, and that the Democrats were wrong, you could use that desire to get the Right's voters to fight against their own betterment.  Gingrich was right.  When Hillary Clinton spearheaded the early campaign for affordable health care, the Republicans screamed about how they would rather pay more.  As Bill Clinton's economy got rolling, they insisted it was really the Republicans who were responsible, even though the Republicans proudly voted against the economic stimulus bill which led to the greatest economy this country has ever seen.  The desire for Republicans to be right trumped their desire to be factual. This was a huge realization for the GOP, and it, along with the rise of Fox News, changed forever in how the Republicans talked to their voters.
  2. The Telecommunications Act of 1996.  Even though Reagan's removal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 did far more to damage the quality on-air content (it immediately replaced quality and fair broadcasting with the owner's ideology) it was the loosening of the ownership rules which really got America's far right media going.  Before this change, a right wing owner had no way of reaching a large percentages of the population.  Passed under the promise that it would make media ownership more open, the TA96 was actually designed to do the opposite; solidify the radio, television and newspapers of the nation into the hands of a few dozen people, most of whom had a far right political agenda.  Almost overnight ten or so corporate media juggernauts controlled what the majority of Americans read, saw and heard.  Being in radio, I saw it first hand.  Cities which used to have a diverse broadcasting spectrum now had three right leaning TV stations, one right leaning newspaper, four conservative talk radio stations and (to ensure no other political opinion was able to get a foothold in a market) three to four sports talk stations.  The limited options were FAR worse in small town America, with usually one far right newspaper, and two far right radio stations.  The TA96 allowed for media executives with close ties to the Republicans Party to make sure Republican talking points were all that were heard.  If the Republicans would've been successful at selling of public television and public radio, most of America would've had right wing filtered news as their ONLY option.
  3. 9/11.  Even though Republicans were controlling message through the 1990's, it still conformed to a specific guideline: 'promote stories which make Republicans look good/Democrats look bad, and ignore stories which make Republicans look bad/Democrats look good.' That changed on 9/11. The morning on 9/11, after the planes had hit, I watched Reagan's former Chief of Staff James Baker make a disturbing claim on Fox News: "this was all Bill Clinton's fault!" It was astoundingly irresponsible to start laying the blame for this attack at the feet of your political enemy as rescue workers were still trying to pull people from the wreckage, but here we were.  Baker was telling everyone that whomever was the real culprit behind the attacks, you should think of President Bill Clinton in the same light.  At that moment, It didn't matter for Republican voters that W. had insisted he could go on a vacation for the entire month of August in 2001 because his Administration was in full control.  It didn't matter for them Condoleezza Rice, W.'s National Security Advisor at the time, had all the warning signs of the attack on her desk prior to the attack.  It didn't matter for them that W. had a security briefing weeks beforehand which was titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in the US," and the Administration didn't take it seriously.  At that moment, and in the days surrounding the 9/11 attacks, Republicans expertly used the fury, sadness and anger created on that day to focus the blame on their political enemies, the Democrats.  For me, 9/11 was the beginning of realizing, for some people, facts no longer mattered.  They started insisting what they wanted to be true was reality, an opinion gleefully validated by the far right media.  Republicans tested this 'creating reality' with the Iraqi War and it worked.  Even though it was easy to see W. and Cheney were lying their cabooses off, Republican voters didn't care.  I'll never forget going into Fairview Southdale hospital in September of 2004 to visit my newborn daughter and getting yelled at in the parking ramp by a Republican woman who insisted "I hated the troops" because of my "Veteran's for Kerry' bumper sticker (let that sink in for a second).  That's when I knew the wheels of the Republican voter were coming off.
  4. The Bush re-election of 2004. Up until this point, you have Republicans pushing a narrative in the news, controlling the media of the country, and the beginnings of re-writing reality to fit their narrative, but to get to the blind loyalty we see around Trump today, we need the final piece; what Vice President Dick Cheney did to ensure a second term in the White House.  Realizing the Republicans policies of the last twenty years had pushed the loyal blue collar workers who voted for Reagan out of the party, Cheney turned to the far right fringes of America to get his loyal foot soldiers.  The extreme Evangelical Christians, the militia nutbags, the anti government conspiracy stooges, and the racists were welcomed into the party, giving the Republicans the foot-soldiers they needed, while at the same time giving validity to these bigots, zealots and kooks. It led to a victory for the Republicans in 2004, but this decision immediately derailed the party.  By 2008, an massively unqualified Sarah Palin was sharing the GOP ticket, racists at Republican events were openly attacking future President Obama with racist rhetoric, and the Republicans devolved into a 'who can grunt loudest' obedience test.  That last point is very important.  These new Republicans installed a far right purity test.  Every non-far right psycho had to either get in line or be labeled as a traitor, forever brandished with a a scarlet 'M.'  Dick Cheney got the Republicans a loyal dog, but it was a dog who constantly went to he bathroom inside their own house, then rolled around in it, all while growling at anyone who didn't agree with their master's far right direction.  One time moderate Republicans, afraid of being called out by the screaming lunatic fringe, stuffed their dignity and honor into the trash, and started marching in unison with the rest of the party.
That's how you get 35% of this country never wavering in their love of Trump.  They've been brainwashed, first with a simple narrative validation, then with repetition, then with reality alteration, then with a unintelligent disgusting hoard mentality driving loyalty pledges to the extreme far right.

I will say Trump himself seems to be testing how far this brainwashed lemming parade will go.  His argument to validate his government shutdown is that he's only not paying Democratic voting government workers, a statement most people, including most Republicans, can see is laughable (44,000 members of the Coast Guard are part of the federal workers not getting paid.  They're ALL Democrats?).  

But that being said, trust me.  More than a few Trump supporters are insisting the only people hurt by this shut down are Republicans, even as they themselves are losing their paycheck.  That's the kind of loyalty you can't buy.  This insanity validates another phrase I've often used in the age of Trump: 'most Republicans could walk into their house and find their spouse in bed with Trump, and the first words out of their mouth will be "damn Democrats!"' 

MSNBC just beat Fox News across the board for the first time in 17 years.  Maybe these delusional fools are starting to wake up.  Then again, W., Nixon, Hoover, Hayes, Johnson, Buchanan and Adams all had their supporters wildly applauding their legacy, even as the reality of what they'd done settled upon the masses.  My guess is Trump will always have at least a 25% approval rating, no matter how bad he makes things for those followers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Equal Opportunity

As attention starts to turn towards who will run for the Democratic nomination to be President in 2020, I've heard two recurring pleas:

  • For God's sake, don't let Hillary Clinton run for President again.  It's because Republicans have been brainwashed into hating her, no matter how irrational, we're in this mess!  Her time was in 2016.  She needs to stay home this time!
  • For God's Sake, don't let Bernie Sanders run for President again.  It's because of him, and his dividing of the party, that we ended up with Trump in the first place. His chance was in 2016.  He needs to stay home this time!
To all the people who are posting these pleas, from the bottom of my heart, SHUT UP!!!

We have a process in place to determine who will be the next Democratic nominee.  If the Democratic party (DNC) determines a candidate fits the definition of what makes up a Democrat, then by all means, let them run.  This includes Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.  Remember: You build resentment by making people feel as if they were wronged.

Hillary Clinton supporters were aggressive during the 2016 nomination process.  I remember when Vice President Joe Biden was considering a run and Clinton supporters immediately insisted he shouldn't because his mental state had been 'compromised' due to the death of his son.  That was cold.  Clinton supporters just presumed Bernie supporters were going to be on board, and took them for granted.  That was a mistake.  For many Clinton supporters, there's still a lot of anger at what they perceive was a less than open arms endorsement from Sanders.

Trust me, no matter how many times I point out the math shows Bernie's ignoring the southeastern United States' Democratic Primaries early in the Democratic race was the deciding factor which cost him the nomination, many Bernie supporters are still convinced super-delegates were the knife in his back.  They weren't, but part of the reason we're in this Trump mess is because they felt wronged (let's not discount the massive Trump/Russian campaign to drive a wedge into the Democrats, encouraging Bernie supporters to not vote or to vote for Jill Stein).  Even today you have a lot of Bernie supporters who have a chip on their shoulder, looking for a reason to turn on the Democratic Party.

This is why we shouldn't be starting this nomination process by insisting on who CAN'T be the nominee.

If Hillary Clinton wants to run, let her.  I'll be honest; besides creating an extreme uneasiness in most Democrats, all she'll likely do is waste a ton of money.  But that being said, IT'S HER MONEY TO WASTE!  If she wants to run, let her run!

If Bernie Sanders wants to run, let him! Considering he'll turn 80 in his first year in office, his age becomes a legitimate concern when it comes to Democratic voters making a choice.  It's almost as if he'd need to announce his VP selection the same time he announces a run for President.  He still needs to address messaging issues towards moderate Democrats, and he needs a better overall campaign strategy, but if he wants to run, let him run!

It's always hard when a candidate you like loses and withdraws from the race.  What turns that frustration into ballot box jeopardizing resentment is the feeling the process was unfair.  Nothing feels more unfair than starting a nomination process by telling a legitimate nominee they're not welcome.

If you're a Democrat, or if you're closely aligned with the Democrats, and the Democratic Party determines you fall under the umbrella of being a Democrat, then by all means, form an exploratory committee and RUN!  The Democrats are supposed to be the party of equal opportunity.  Let's start acting like it.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Initial Thoughts on 2020

Consider how bad things went for the Republicans in 2018:

Their gerrymandered US House was taken back with authority by the Democrats with historic resound.  The Contract With America year the Republicans had a 7.0% advantage in the polling. In 2010, the year the Republicasn demanded all Democrats sit down and shut up, including President Obama, because they "had a mandate from the American people," Republicans had a 7.2% advantage.  The Democrats in 2018 had a 9.2% advantage.

Trust me, the gerrymandering still did it's job.  If the Republicans didn't have a massive gerrymandered advantage, they would've lost 100 seats, but even so no one is popping champaign bottles on the right.  This is their worst case scenario.  Their brand is pretty much wiped out on the West Coast and in the northeastern US, north of the Mason Dixon Line.  There are signs their tight grip on the southeastern US is starting to falter, and even deep red Texas is looking more and more blue.

Heck in North Carolina, they literally had the Republicans confiscating thousands of absentee ballots, an attempt to steal a congressional seat outright.  And we should be questioning whether or not the vote theft tactic/game plan happened in other sates, like Georgia and Florida.

With the majority of the US seeing Trump as a political Titanic starting to slip under the waves, Republicans are stuck with a base who still worships him.  GOP voters will never believe Trump ever did anything wrong, meaning if the Mueller probe goes the way it's looking, Republican politicians either have to decide to A) stand on the deck of the USS Trump as it sinks, B) wait to see if the 2020 polling shows they're in big trouble (which they will be), and then decide to jump like rats from the sinking ship (I really disagree with Trump even though my record says I fully support him!) or C) jump in a lifeboat early and sail towards retirement.  If they take 'C,' at least they'll get a good view of the carnage before the move on.

Most non-retiring Republicans have proven they won't deviate from Reagan's 11th Commandment, [paraphrasing] "never speak ill will against a fellow Republican," even if that Republican is a petulant, narcissistic man child who's addicted to television and bedtime cheeseburgers, and is subject to a daily temper tantrum.  They're going full steam ahead as they look at 2020, and this means the Democrats need to be ready for the Republican's three prongs of attack.

First prong: a repeat of 2016, drive a wedge into the Democrats by working the progressive side of the party against the more moderate candidates.  Although we already have our eyes wide open for this interference, and even though we already know it will happen, it still will be moderately successful because it attacks a Democrat's weakness; Democrats almost always believe 'if everyone did what I wanted, things would be so much better.'  Fight this attack by being more open minded.  Remember, there's a system in place.  If your candidate is looking like they're not going to win, remind yourself EVERY DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE WILL BE FAR BETTER OPTION THAN TRUMP, OR ANY REPUBLICAN!  Stay united, no matter how much you get hurt by your candidate not being THE candidate.

Second prong: They have to get Democrats to stay home.  In Minnesota House races, Republican incumbents got more votes than they ever got before, but it didn't matter.  The Democrats showed up in force.  All Republicans could do is watch the inevitable unfold in front of them.  They can't win if Democrats show up, so they will do everything to get Democrats to stay home.  Ad campaigns to not vote, voting restrictions, disinformation distribution; the Republicans will spend a lot of money trying to get the left to be a no-show.  Fight this by having the same intensity as 2018, IF NOT MORE! Already vow to make sure people are registered to vote and they're going to vote.  Every Democratic Candidate, regardless of incumbent or challenger, needs to be knocking on doors ALREADY.  Don't be afraid.  Be pissed off and looking for bigger margins of victory.  With 2020 being a census year, if there's any hope to undo the right's obscene gerrymandering, we need to sweep every race we can.  That means showing up!

Third prong: outright theft.  Get ready for more attempts like the shenanigans in North Carolina.  Ballots being confiscated, fake ballots being submitted, absentee ballots being stolen and thrown out; the Republicans have already proven they're willing to use these tactics.  Be aware of what's going on, and if anything seems odd, contact the Secretary of State's office immediately.  Then, contact the local media.  Exposure is the biggest threat to these unlawful, anti-American tactics

What all three of these prongs show is something devastating for the Republicans. They're already conceding their candidates can't win fair and square.  Republicans won't appeal to the masses and will be a tough sell in what used to be safe Republicans districts.  Republicans need the Democrats to help them win.  I, for one, am not going to oblige.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/21/18

Ok, I'm a jackass! I haven't had time this week to write, but that's mainly because I used up every bit of free time I had getting the holiday radio shows ready.  On my radio gig, we are airing 8 days of pre-recorded shows, all of them interviews with authors, pundits and even a journalist or two.  It's a ton of work to get that all recorded, but it's always the best option.  A week's worth of 'best of' shows gets boring really fast, and I don't believe in forcing fill in talent to work over the holidays.

Needless to say, it doesn't excuse the near barren existence of this blog.  I promise, with me now having time (when I get finished with my holiday preparations), I'll get something posted.

First a warning about tonight's Friday Links.  If you love Trump and his Administration, don't watch them.  They do not present Trump, or anyone around him, in a positive light, so save yourself the indigestion. These also have some rough language at times, so you've been warned.

For tonight, two insanely good bits from Colbert and his show for the holidays.  Laura Bennati's impression of First Lady Melania Trump is so freaking good.  Here she is showing all off her broadway expertise in a little segment called 'A Christmas Message from the White House.'

Then another holiday special where Santa gets help from Robert Mueller in saving Christmas.  It does have an amazingly accurate version of a Trump Campaign rally audience member.  It's topical, to say the least...

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating it, and Happy Holidays to everyone else!

I promise I'll post some new blog pieces soon!

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/14/18

OKAY, OKAY...the blog has been really light...

I sat down about 11 times this week to write and I either realized I had something more pressing I had to do, OR I was exhausted.  I actually have two blog posts written, but I've not had time to proofread and edit them.  Considering how angry people get at me for typos on the Twitter feed, I dare not publish anything before I've cleaned them up.

That being said, you deserve better than three weeks of a nearly empty blog.  I will get some more posts published in the next week, I promise.

For this week, I've three for you.  First an incredibly satisfying takedown of Fox News' streaming service by Samantha Bee.  She hasn't had her comedic bite since the whole Ivanka dust up, but this was A+ primo comedy. Warning, ROUGH language, but 'Birth of a Fox Nation' is brilliant!

Next up is the best skit so far from Saturday Night Live this season, Them Trumps.  Of course this is what would happen to Trump if he was African American, and most of Trump's current supporters would be cheering this outcome if he was.

And finally for something Holiday, how about some mass marketing! This little skit was only about marketing the movie, and more specifically Lego toys before the holidays, but it's enjoyable.  I choose not to be a Scrooge!  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Friday Link for 12/7/18

Hey all.

I know, I know.  The blog has been a little light this week.  It's the holidays and with it comes a stress level that's magical. I'll try to get a post out this weekend.

This Friday night I wanted something to put you in the holiday spirit, so I found John Denver and The Muppets Christmas special from 1979.  I remember seeing this on TV as a kid.  It's not the best quality, but it still will make you smile.

I feel John Denver is an under appreciated artist.  Most of us know his songs, but I don't think many people would list him in their top five if asked to name some of the biggest artists of the seventies. His poppy country music was almost it's own genre, mountain pop, where his love of America's rural wilderness balanced with his simple wholesome song lyrics.  He always sang from the heart.

When I was in the Army, stationed in Germany, the pubs and bars were packed with beer and live music.  Of course the Beatles' songs were always the most popular ones sung, but my God, did the crowds love the John Denver songs.  I remember many a Friday night closing down one specific pub where the Germans and Irish would be loudly belting out "Take Me Home, Country Roads."

John Denver died little over 21 years ago in a plane crash in California.

Enjoy John in his holiday best, with the always entertaining Muppets.

Have a great weekend everyone, and I will try to get a post up by Sunday.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/30/18

As the city of Minneapolis tries to digest the ugly story of officers in the Minneapolis Police Department's 4th Precinct putting up a racist themed Christmas tree...

...hold on a quick second...


Any who...

Since they opened the door, let's take us back to when the Minneapolis Police Union and KSTP made international headlines when they tried a political smear campaign agains former Mayor Betsy Hodges with the now infamous #Pointergate!

Since Jon Stewart is back, why not also include his three segment stint interviewing Stephen Colbert on The Late Show.  You forget how good Stewart was at interviewing people, and how he could actually ask tough questions.  This is a fun interview.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Community Pride

This weekend I had a recurring conversation.  A friend who lives in Minnetonka wanted to console me for my hellscape existence in the town I live in, Hopkins.  I informed them there was no need to throw pity my way, as not only is my town doing great, Hopkins is what America should strive to be.

Most of time when I'm correcting false notions about Hopkins it's due to a common problem.  A person moves from Hopkins to a wealthier neighborhood in one of the surrounding communities (Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie or Wayzata) and to validate their decision, they vilify Hopkins, implying their 'escape' from the town was on par with the Millennium Falcon barely getting out of the mouth of that asteroid worm.  It's fantastic you were able to move to a wealthier neighborhood, but just because you did doesn't mean the neighborhood you left was bad.  I've lived in my Hopkins house for almost 20 years.  Not only is my neighborhood sensational, there have only been two crime related police calls in my immediate neighborhood in two decades. TWO!  Not exactly a hellscape.

Part of Hopkins problem is they were a less desirable community for many years.  The glory days of their agricultural roots were a faint memory by the 1980's, when the town was mostly known for cheap housing, dive bars and hair metal motorcycle gangs.  But then Hopkins started to resurrect it's reputation, beginning with the opening of the Hopkins Center for the Arts.  They embraced a new focus, encouraging a more family friendly environment.  AND Hopkins did this while maintaining standards for affordable housing and accessibility.  The city's done a magnificent job.

It doesn't help Hopkins that it is surrounded by some of the wealthiest communities in the state.  Any community would seem subpar when compared with the million dollar McMansions which crop up just across the borders.  While the surrounding wealthy communities have changed, moving away from their upper class working family roots to embrace the trend of buying up smaller houses, tearing them down and then building a 7000 square foot monstrosity replacement house to the property lines, Hopkins has maintained most of their 1950's Americana suburban, single family charm.  This is because Hopkins has very strict zoning laws which prevent a Hopkins McMansion from becoming reality.  The house can only be a certain percentage of the property size.  This rule has been a Godsend for Hopkins, saving it from the wrong kind of development.  It's kept Hopkins unique, and in turn made it more desirable.

Even with preservation rules and affordable housing standards in place, Hopkins is still more upper class than lower class.  The average median housing price in Minnesota is $230,000.  Hopkins is $252,000, placing it squarely in the upper middle class range.

And Hopkins is about to go through a MAJOR renaissance.  The Southwest Light Rail Line is starting to be built, and with it comes three stops in Hopkins.  The light rail lines on University and Hiawatha have dramatically revitalized those communities, bringing in long overdue development and investment.  You should expect the same in Hopkins, as developmental property around the stations will make for a good return on many levels.  Already Hopkins has seen the addition of two brand new apartment complexes, and both were almost immediately full.  Expect the positive development trend to continue.

In my mind, what makes Hopkins truly sensational is how really unique it is; real ethnic diversity in a middle class suburban environment. I graduated Edina in 1986 and that school was almost exclusively white.  While Edina was a fantastic school, it did not prepare me for the real world on that level.  The streets and schools of Hopkins are a cornucopia of racial diversity.  Regardless of the irrational fear of some, this is a representation of the world we're heading towards.  It doesn't mean there aren't still issues, but having a more diverse community brings awareness and conversations which help drive Hopkins in the right direction.

This article is by no means an effort to bad mouth the wealthy suburbs of the southwest metro.  They're fantastic and offer a lot to their residents.  I don't have to bad mouth my neighboring communities to make myself feel better about living in Hopkins.  To paraphrase Prince:  "I like Minnetonka, Edina, Eden Prairie and Wayzata.  I just like Hopkins a little bit better."

Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Saturday Link for 11/24/18

I know it's late this week, but I did have a plateful of things to do the last few days.  I hosted Thanksgiving at my house, cooked most of it, then made the most kick caboose soup you'll ever have.  I had created a window to do some writing yesterday, by my wife mentioned it was the last over 40 degree day before Christmas and so if I wanted to get the outdoor Christmas lights up without freezing, I'd better get moving.

That was not the chore I wanted to add to my agenda, but I did get it all done, and last night I spent the evening watching "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" and MST3K with the kiddos.  Priorities!

For this week, how about some of the better appraisals from Antique Roadshow.  These are jaw dropping finds which I've watched multiple times. Enjoy!

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Terry John Zila's Thanksgiving Recipes

Every year we have Terry John Zila, a fantastic local chef, join us on the radio show before Thanksgiving to talk turkey and other holiday favorites.  Every year, I post the recipes to the blog for you to enjoy.

Here are this year's recipes.  You can click and copy on any of the images to have a copy for yourself, Or you can do a screen grab.

I stand by all of these because Terry is a great chef!  Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/16/18

Howdy all!

This week I first want to post something which will infuriate many people, especially Republicans, and the Christians who keep voting for them.

It's always bothered me the religion I was taught was based on love and acceptance would ever be used to push hatred, but that's exactly what the Evangelical Republican Christians have allowed their version of Christianity to become.  They made abortion the only thing that mattered in their religion, dismissing the passages geared toward fighting hunger, curing disease, ending homelessness and fighting injustice from their Bibles.  Political homophobic opportunists cherry picked a few passages, mainly from Leviticus and Paul's letter to the Romans, to justify hating gay people.  Abortion and hating Gays is what the Bible has become for most Republican Christians.

Jesus never told us to hate, ever.  If you are a Christian, then you believe in Jesus's teachings, especially when they contradict earlier lessons from the Old Testament, and especially when they go against other church leaders who are preaching hate.  Your Chrisitan life should have no place for a Republican Party platform which directly goes against most of what makes you Christian.  Jesus and Deuteronomy directly tell us one of the two unbreakable rules is "Love Thy Neighbor." Republican Christians might claim they do, but they clearly don't.

I offer in my defense GOP Jesus.  This is absolutely a spot on merging of Republican policy with the Christian Bible many Republican voters claim to follow.  Conclusion: they're not compatible.  There's a reason the amount of people attending church is shrinking, and I guarantee it's not the people who are welcoming and compassionate to all who enter turning off the masses.

On a completely different topic, Meet Roger Webb, an Australian master woodworker.  This guy might not seem like a You Tube superstar, but look at the play count on this video. 11 million plus!!!

Why?  This is therapeutic watching.  Roger is a master woodworker making outstanding pieces.  What he does seems easy, but that is a lifetime of practice on display.  Enjoy!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Since the election, I've had over a dozen people insist I've got a double standard when it comes to politicians accused of abuse, whether physical, mental or sexual.  It stems from Rightos trying to make themselves feel better for Keith Ellison becoming Minnesota's Attorney General by insisting on some sort of morality failure on behalf of all of his voters, a morality they insist they still have intact.  For the record, anyone who has championed Trump has zero ability to question mine or anyone else's morality.  Theirs dried up years ago.

I'm not going to spend this post defending Ellison over Wardlow.  Doug Wardlow, the Republican's candidate, was deeply flawed on his own level.  I've gone on record stating a more moderate Republican would've likely won against Ellison, but that's a subject for another day.  Today, I only want to focus on whether or not I've been consistent.

In my opinion, I have been.

When Ellison's ex-girlfriend made allegations of abuse against him, right before the official Democratic Primary vote, I VERY CLEARLY stated if these accusations against Ellison were true, he should withdraw from the race (you can find my shows here:  His ex girlfriend stated she had a video tape of the abuse, but then refused to show said tape to anyone.  Why?  If the tape is real, no one has a clue outside of her.  I went onto state there should be a thorough investigation, and if the allegations are proven to be true, Ellison should (depending on when the accusations were proven to have merit) either withdraw from the AG race, or resign the Attorney Generals position.  If the allegations were proven to be false, then Ellison should have the ability to seek recourse for his damaged reputation.

Abuse allegations seem to come in three different varieties.  First are the ones where there's an immediate amount of substantial evidence the party being accused is guilty of the crime.  When this type of case arises, pretty much everyone is in unison; the guilty party should resign and face the consequences of their behavior.  One important definition in regards to these cases: it's not about what one side WANTS to be true.  It's about undeniable evidence coming to light of unacceptable behavior. Keith Ellison's allegation (as long as the video tape is not verified, and regardless of what the right wing WANTS to be true) doesn't fall into this category.

Then there are the allegations where a person comes forward to accuse someone of abuse, but the evidence is primarily 'he said, she said;' unsubstantiated allegations where there are no other witnesses to the actual abuse.  There might be evidence which points to the abuse happening, but nothing definitive, hence why a full investigation is needed.  This is where Ellison's allegation comes in.  In Ellison's case, the alleged abuse tape could elevate his allegations to a confirmed case of abuse, but without the tape, it becomes a 'he said, she said' accusation.

The third type of case is one where there are multiple, separate allegations of inappropriate behavior.  Justice Brett Kavanaugh, former Senator Al Franken and Trump himself fall into this realm.  Where each individual allegation of abuse is still a 'he said, she said' situation, multiple allegations against the individual establish a pattern of behavior which call for an immediate investigation.  Once again, there might be evidence which points to the abuse happening, but nothing definitive, hence why a full legitimate investigation is needed.

The Minnesota DFL took the Ellison matter very seriously, hiring an outside attorney to conduct an investigation.  The investigation determined the only piece of evidence which could prove Ellison's guilt or innocence is the alleged video, which the ex-girlfriend still refuses to release. Without the video, it comes down to a 'he said, she said' situation.  Then in an effort to show due diligence, the DFL tried to hand the case over to county prosecutors and local police for further investigation. Ellison himself called on the US House to conduct a full investigation into the allegations against him, something a guilty person would probably be hesitant to do.

Here's where I've been consistent,  In both the Kavanaugh and the Ellison cases (even though there were multiple allegations against Kavanaugh and only one allegation against Ellison), I called for the EXACT SAME course of action.  I wanted a fair investigation into both individuals.  If a fair investigation proves abuse, then appropriate action should be taken.  In the case of Kavanaugh, a fair investigation did not happen. Trump and the Republican's 'investigation' made it impossible for his accusers to prove their claims, even if a drunk Kavanaugh admitted to them in front of the Senate (even then, I still think the GOP would have approved him).  I've stated from the beginning of the accusations against Kavanaugh:  "Investigate him fairly and completely, and if the investigation proves to be unfounded, then, by all means, confirm him to the Supreme Court."

For the record, IF the abuse allegation against Ellison is proven to be true, then he should resign immediately, not only for his unacceptable behavior, but for running the Minnesota DFL thought his maze of lies.

I believe all people deserve to have the chance to defend themselves, as long as the investigations are conducted fairly.  This is one of the main regrets I've had about Senator Al Franken leaving office.  Two of the people making allegations against him clearly had political motivations (and mysteriously Trump BFF Roger Stone was mixed up in these allegations too), but since the bellowing screams from the right were "no investigation, only resignation," Franken never got a chance to defend himself.

Righto's are incredibly inconsistent when it comes to abuse allegations.  They claim anyone who supported Ellison is a hypocrite because many Democrats questioned Kavanaugh after the multiple allegations against him, but here's the catch.  Republicans themselves never held Kavanaugh to ANY standard.  They only use the Democrat's calls for investigation to imply they themselves were for investigating Kavanaugh when they clearly weren't!  Even though Kavanaugh wasn't held to any real scrutiny (outside of a carefully orchestrated dog and pony show investigation with very limited scope) Republicans demand Ellison withdraw/resign without an investigation because...frankly I have no idea how the modern Republican's logic circuits work.  Once again, this is them trying to claw themselves out of the gutter back to a pseudo-high road position by implying they have a morality the other side doesn't, a morality they themselves never display.

This highlights the insane modern Republican inconsistency.  If a Democrat is accused of abuse, the want an immediate resignation, a public apology and for every Democrat who voted for the individual to apologize in triplicate.  If a Republican is accused, they immediately dismiss the allegation, attack the victim (usually with death threats), and demand no investigation ever happen.  Even when a Republican is caught with substantial evidence against them, Republicans will still refuse to condemn them by name.  Try to get a Republican to condemn Kavanaugh, former MN House Rep. Tony Cornish, or Trump himself.  They can't call these people out by name.

Media outlets only like to point out alleged Democratic inconsistencies, even though the Republican inconsistency is a sledge hammer hitting them in the face.  The evidence against Kavanaugh is far more damning when compared to the evidence against Ellison, but most of the media gives Republicans an unearned benefit of the doubt.  I've heard media in Minneapolis St. Paul, even sports guys, state the allegations against Ellison were enough evidence to justify him withdrawing from the AG race, but yet they haven't called for ANY Republican to resign, including Trump, whose allegations against him are more consistent and damning than anything Ellison is accused of.  The predictable narrative most media accepts is 'Democrats are evil, and Republicans are incorrigible scamps.'

I've called for investigations into Ellison, Kavanaugh, Franken and Trump.  In all four cases, I've said if the evidence proves them guilty, they should all step aside.  I've been consistent, much to Republican and media pundit chagrin.  If you're still wanting to call me out, that's more on you than it is on me.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/9/18

I hope everyone has a great weekend, but make sure on Sunday to take a moment to say a big thank you to all Veterans who have served our country, from the Revolutionary War (where we kicked the British's cabooses for trying to stymie Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press), to the Civil War (where we kicked the anti-American traitorous Confederates cabooses), to World War II (where we kicked the Nazi's cabooses), to the recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Also remember all who served during peace time, and the families of those we lost on the battle field.

For the Friday Link, the immortal Bob Hope gets Caught in the Draft, from 1941.  This was when the Nazis were the bad guys, not welcomed and tolerated as a part of a certain political party. Bob would not approve!


For all who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard, thank you for your service!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Democrats, Enjoy This!

What a night to be a Democrat, especially a Democrat in Minnesota.  It was spectacular.  Let me break it down, race by race:

US House - The US House of Representatives went back to the Democrats.  It's looking like the final total will be somewhere around a 225 to 228 seat majority.  To achieve this, the Democrats had to do a frontal attack on an election system which has been unbelievably manipulated against them.  Inexcusable gerrymandering, a massive money and media advantage, rigged voting rules and purged voter databases made what they accomplished almost impossible.  The final advantage for the Democrats was a national popular vote margin of 9.2%.  How impressive is 9.2%?  In 2010, when Republicans bragged for two years how they had a mandate from the American people to screw this country up, their margin of victory was only 7.2%.  The Contract with America uprising in 1994 was only 7.1%.  The only time in the last 25 years we've had a stronger advantage by an individual party was when the Democrats dominated in 2008, with a 10.6%.

That's what makes this US House win even more amazing.  In 2008, we were in an economy which was imploding, and stuck in a war many Americans wanted to be over.  In 2018, the economy is doing very well, and our military deployments are mostly ignored.  This massive Democratic Party advantage is simply Americans repudiating Trump.

If this was a fair election process, the Democrats would be looking at a rout more like 1930 or 1932.  The Republicans, through their fixed system, were able to stop the bleeding, but not before they had to concede the losses.  Although I would've loved to see a majority closer to 235-240, at least we'll now have some level of oversight of what is clearly the most corrupt 'leader' in US History.

I also still think there is a legit chance Trump, out of fear the Democrats will get access to his tax returns, will resign his office right before the new year, making a deal with the outgoing Republican majority to keep his tax returns private for eternity.

Minnesota's Senators and the US Senate - Both Minnesota's Senators are Democrats, as Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith both won re-election.  While Amy's competition was a laughing stock, Tina did have a little more of a challenge in Karin Housley. Then Karin decided to feature her husband, former NHL player Phil, in a campaign ad, and she never recovered from the optics of it.  Amy and Tina will have a less friendly Senate to return to, as the Republicans bucked the mid-term trend and won seats in the Senate in 2018.  That wasn't so much on Republican popularity, as Democratic Senate candidates had a 12 point overall lead in the national popular vote but still lost 3 seats.  This was partially the rigged system, but it was also the aftermath of a massive Senate victory for the Democrats in 2012, President Obama's re-election year.  There were just too many seats for the Democrats to feasibly hold in a crooked system created by the Republicans.

Minnesota Governor and the Minnesota statewide races - We say goodbye to a great governor in Mark Dayton by welcoming in a well qualified Tim Walz, the former MN-01 House Rep who will take over the Governor's mansion.  The governor's race wasn't really in question as the Republican candidate Jeff Johnson made a glass of skim milk look exciting.  This was an relatively easy layup of a victory, an 11% win.  If the MNGOP would've stayed with Tim Pawlenty, my guess is it would've been closer, but still a Walz win.

Two of the other statewide races were a little closer for the Democrats.  Steve Simon won another term as Secretary of State by 9 points, and Julie Blaha won the State Auditor position by 6.  Usually these race differentials would match the governor's race margins, so there's a question of how many Republicans disliked Johnson as the MNGOP Governor nominee?

Minnesota Attorney General - Keith Ellison, the former Rep from MN-05, won the Attorney General position over Republican Doug Wardlow.  We all know the race featured two flawed candidates.  This is something I won't revisit here, but you can read about it at this link:

The reason the Republicans lost this race is due to their flawed selection process.  When they saw Keith Ellison was likely going to be the DFL nominee, they mistakenly interpreted the race as an easy win.  They thought all they had to do was run a campaign screaming "Beware the Black Muslim Man!" and the voters would flock to anyone they put the 'R' next to.  They decided to go with the far right extreme candidate in Wardlow.  If the MNGOP would've gone with someone like Johnson or Housley, they probably would've won, but when Wardlow's true nature started getting exposed, it negated the Right's fear mongering.  Because they went with an extreme zealot, they lost.

MN-02 and MN-03 - Finally, two of the most worthless Republicans I've ever seen, Representatives Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen, lost. Lewis should've never won in 2016, but because he kept his past misogynistic and bigoted radio show comments hidden from voters, and because a third party candidate pulled just enough of the vote away from the Democrat, he got one term in the US House.  He's gone now, as Angie Craig won the rematch of the 2016 race.  Erik Paulsen's lack of a real record, and an unnatural fear of talking to his constituents, met it's match in Dean Phillips, an outstanding Democrat who took the MN-03 seat by 11%.  Paulsen was like a lot of Republicans who were undone by their health care votes; tied to his constant repeal of the Affordable Care Act while not having a replacement plan ready to go.  It becomes hard to convince people you really have a health care plan when you haven't produced one in 8 years.

Minnesota House - This was the best caboose kicking by the Democrats of the night, as a whopping 18 seats flipped from the Republicans to the Democrats.  The Republicans lost pretty much every suburban Twin Cities metro seat they had, even in outlying wealthy suburbs which they thought offered protection.  The Republicans were undone by a few things, starting with an exceptional slate of Minnesota DFL candidates, many of whom were furious with the broken Republican version of government.

Outgoing Speaker Kurt Daudt miscalculated on two initiatives.  First, his lack of any mass transit funding for the 16th largest metro area in the country left a bad taste in the mouth of many suburbanites, many who have to tackle hour long, one way commutes to get to work.  Secondly, the Omnibus Prime bill was a massive mistake.  Last session, there were a lot of popular stand alone bills with bi-partisan support the Governor was willing to sign.  Instead, Daudt threw them all into one massive, un-Constitutional 1000 page monster bill (Omnibus Prime), a blatant effort to use the popular bi-partisan items to get his extreme partisan agenda items passed.  What he did with Omnibus Prime was the epitome of bad government, something which in turn united many voters against the MNGOP.

Daudt's funny.  His greatest nemesis has been Mark Dayton, a governor who's brilliantly counter punched the Speaker at every turn, over and over again.  Just when Daudt thinks he's going to be able to get rid of Dayton, he loses the Speakership.  He's now subject to the will of incoming Speaker Melissa Hortman.  Paraphrasing Goodfellas, "grab your Shinebox Kurt."  Dayton gets one more laugh as he leaves office, at your expense.

There were three less than ideal outcomes for the Democrats on Election night in Minnesota.  The MN-01 and MN-08 seats both flipped to the Republicans.  MN-01 was a Republican district held by Tim Walz, so that was always going to be a tough hold, (although it was a very tight race).  Trump basically bought MN-08 with his steel tariff strategy, with the Iron Range being one of the few areas of the country which benefits from his asinine trade policy.  Also, the Minnesota Senate will stay in the hands of the MNGOP, as the special election in MN-13 saw a Republican victory.  The right spent so much money on that race, with near daily visits from recognizable Republicans, they were begging the voters to keep the district Republican.  Regardless, the Senate still has to work with a Democratic Governor and House.

I've heard some Democrats bemoan the loss of some of the high profile stand alone races, namely the Senate race in Texas, the Governor's race in Georgia, and the Governor's race in Florida.  To them I say "STOP IT!"  Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the Democrats sweep the table, but considering what the Democrats accomplished on Tuesday, I'll take those losses.  Too many years, we've lost the war, trying to hang our pride on one or two individual races to make ourselves feel better. I'd much rather have won the US House this time around, as a single senator or a state governor can't hold Trump accountable.  Plus the governor races in Wisconsin and Kansas were pretty spectacular GOP meltdowns, so there's your gravy!

Democrats, enjoy this.  Take the rest of the week, and then get ready to begin again on Monday!  If we don't take back the White House, the Senate and the majority of state Legislatures in 2020, we'll have another ten years of this crap.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Matt's Guide to Voting

Many Trump/Republican voters are furious.  They're viciously mad at the minority Democrats, a party who currently holds as much power in our government as a turnip, for allegedly derailing their agenda, but the reality is their agenda came up against reality.  It's one thing to support a racist bigoted jackass who says he'll stop, jail, or kill his enemies.  It's a completely different thing to put a racist, bigoted agenda into place in the US.  The Federal Government's rules make it difficult to make earth shattering federal platform changing decisions quickly.

It's one of the two reasons modern Trump voters (and if you're a Republican you're a Trump voter) are flirting with the idea of scrubbing Democracy as a whole, embracing a more authoritarian/fascist/dictator type of rule.  The three branches of Government and the Constitution make huge racist changes to America difficult, so Righto voters are entertaining the idea of moving away from the system of checks and balances (not exactly like the Republicans in Congress are doing much anyway) to give Trump some level of absolute power.  They've convinced themselves a primary individual plutocracy is more what the founding fathers wanted.  It's also the only way they're going to stay in absolute power in the age of Trump.

The other reason the right is entertaining a dictatorship is the same reason they're really upset.  Even they have to admit this experiment with Trump has been an utter disaster.  He's put babies into prisons, sold off our national park land, and even made a tax cut so unappetizing it's making Republicans afraid of offering another.  Republican voters are looking in the mirror and realizing for a split second they're the problem.  Middle and lower class conservative voters have handed over their power to the ultra wealthy because they've been indoctrinated into HATING Democrats more than they love their quality of life, health, kids, religion, and their own country.  But instead of admitting they were wrong, wearing their shame, it's easier for them to embrace scrapping Democracy.  They're willing to end America because they're terrified of being embarrassed.

The first step at fixing this mess is a simple one.  If you were one of the 110,000,000 US citizens registered to vote in 2016, but who didn't, now is the time to correct that mistake.  What 2016 undeniably showed us is that sometimes you vote to prevent a truly horrible, evil person from getting into power.

Are you registered to vote?  In Minnesota you can find out at the Minnesota Secretary of State's page:

If you're not in Minnesota, search for your individual state's Secretary of State page.

Do you know where to vote?  Once again check with your Secretary of State, but most town's City Hall have a person who can tell you where you vote, based on your address.

Remember not only are there Federal races, but a plethora of local races too.  Depending on your state, you might be choosing your Governor, your state Senators, your state House Representatives, your county commissioners, school boards, mayors and many other local civic positions.  There's usually a spate of judges to vote for too.  In Minnesota, to my knowledge, there are only two contested juridical races, where two appointees of Governor Mark Dayton (one on the MN Supreme Court [Chutich], and one on the Court of Appeals [Jesson]) are being challenged by outside candidates.  You're welcome!

Republicans, especially ones in major metro area suburban districts, are terrified of being identified as Republicans.  This is why you've seen Republicans with purple, orange, green and even Democratic Blue campaign signs, signs which make no mention of their Republican Party affiliation.  Talk to everyone getting ready to vote and make sure they check to see which party the candidates represent.  Make sure EVERYONE asks the question "why would this person work so hard at hiding which political party they belong to?"  If they're being deceptive, they probably shouldn't get your vote.

My suggestion would be to vote a straight Democratic ticket.  In Minnesota, I'll vote for the Minnesota DFL from the top of the ticket (Senators Klobuchar and Smith) to the bottom of the ticket (my Minnesota House Rep, Cheryl Youakim).

The Republicans don't deserve to stay in power at either the national or state level.  All they have done is hand over tax payer dollars to the wealthy, and in turn cut the programs and services we depend on.  They've failed at all levels.  The only way they'll learn they're wrong is for them to lose.  The incumbent Republicans haven't done squat to deserve another chance, and electing the new Republicans would only lead to more of the same.

Let's be honest about the Republicans.  They knew Trump had a less than Christian pedigree (to say the least).  They knew he mocked the disabled.  They knew he threatened to sexually assault a married woman.  They knew all about him, implied he probably should get their vote, and regardless they all voted for him in 2016.  They will ALL show up again and vote in 2018.  They will!  This was never about getting them to stay at home.  This was always about getting a large portion of that 110 million who sat out 2016 to the polls in 2018.

Ask your family, friends, and coworkers if they are registered to vote, if they know where to vote and ask if they are planning to vote.  It's your right as at US citizens.  Please don't waste it again.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Friday Link for 11/2/18

The Minnesota Attorney General's race has become a regular discussion topic on my show.

First, right before the primary, Keith Ellison, the Democrat, was accused of abuse by his ex-girlfriend who insisted she has video evidence of the abuse, but refused to show it to anyone.  Ellison asked for the Minnesota DFL to investigate, which they did, and they couldn't substantiate the claim.  They've tried to hand the case over to law enforcement for further investigation; NOT because they think something is there.  They want to make this investigation is as above board as possible.  Also, Ellison has asked the US House to investigate the claims, something a guilty man usually doesn't do.

Then the Republican, Doug Wardlow, a guy who tried to play himself off as a wholesome non-partisan candidate (who just happened to stumble into the GOP nomination), went full nuclear.  His campaign could be summed up as "black, Muslim man beating up women!" A right leaning "news" outlet (seeming to be helping out Wardlow) went to court to open up Ellison's divorce records to see if there was any allegations of abuse in those records.

Wardlow then started to implode.  He was caught on tape saying he'd fire all the Democratic attorneys in the AG office when he wins, and replace them with Republican attorneys, implying he would push a pure partisan agenda (so much for the wholesomeness).  Then people started to look into his employment record, finding a lot of connections to groups which are extremely anti-LGBTQ, groups who try to write laws from the courtroom.

Then came the allegations of extreme bullying from Wardlow's high school ex classmates, allegations which have some level of corroboration, allegations which seem to be scaring the crap out of Wardlow.  The Ellison divorce papers were released, showing he was actually covering up for his ex wife and her abusive behavior (stemming from a medical diagnosis and depression. All they did by forcing open the divorce papers is to publicly shame a private citizen and her family), and now it's discovered Wardlow's wife's social media featured many hate based allegations against Ellison.  Her social media pages have been freshly scrubbed.

On top off all of that, the Grassroots Party candidate (legalize marijuana) Noah Johnson is now wanting all of his followers to vote for Ellison.  It's been a hoot, especially in a year when most of the Minnesota races seem to be yawners.

Why is the AG race so important?  For the Friday Link, John Oliver explains why (almost like it was on cue!).  As always, watch for rough language:

Have a great weekend everyone, AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE, VOTE!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Trump Top 20 Countdown for the Week of 10/22/18

Welcome to the Weekly Top 20 Countdown of Trump's ineptitude and stupidity for the week of 10/22/18 to 10/28/18.

These are the 20 most boneheaded things coming from Trump and his Administration this week.  All the things on this list should be the lynchpin for investigations, committee hearings, firings, resignations and even one or two impeachment charges.  Instead we have this country slowly tumbling into a death spiral, as mentally deranged zealots and emboldened racists begin terrorist attacks.  This will get worse before it gets better.

Quick note:  I'm taking off next week as the Election has me pretty busy.  Depending on the schedule, I might have a list for the week of November 5th.  By the way VOTE!!!

A quick Google search will give you plenty of news options on all of these stories.  The ranking is purely on me.  Please feel free to disagree and comment why below.

On with the countdown!

20) For at least the 5th time in his less than two year term, Trump tried to leave a bill signing ceremony prior to him signing the bill, and had to be stopped, this time the Opioid Treatment and Prevention Bill.  His wife actually stopped him from leaving the East Room and told him he had to go back to sign the bill, the only reason the ceremony was talking place.  This doesn't seem like something a competent human being would have such a consistent problem with. (10/24)

19) A senior Veterans Affairs official, David Thomas Sr., reportedly was displaying a portrait of Confederate General and founder of the KKK Nathan Bedford Forrest in his office, a tax payer funded office.  He claims the print was something he thought was nice, so he purchased it and swears he had no idea the portrait was of a notorious racist.  The portrait was featured in his office with a spotlight to highlight it, and it allegedly was featured in other offices he'd had in the past. (10/23)

Racist bastard Nathan Bedford Forrest, apparently on bath salts...

18) [Spoilers] In a bizarre tweet from Trump, right before 3 AM in the morning (!!!), Trump tweeted "Funny how lowly rated CNN and others can criticize."  He then deleted that tweet, and then posted about 30 minutes minutes later "Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will." (they shouldn't be able to???) He went onto accuse CNN of blaming him for the bomb attacks which have occurred nationwide against former Presidents, Democrats and regular citizens.  Most political experts are pointing to this being worrisome, wondering if Trump is on the verge of depression. (10/26)

17) The Trump Administration has decided to do the absolute least they can do in regards to holding Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a murder which the Saudi's have basically admitted to.  Trump has called the cover up of the murder the worst cover up ever (???).  The retaliation the Trump Administration is handing out is a revoking of the visas for the Saudis involved with the murder, but not the crown prince who clearly orchestrated the assassination.  That's it.  Nothing else so far. (10/23)

16) It seems the White House is determined to destroy our relationship with China.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was meeting with Mexican and Central American heads of state when he blatantly told them, "when China comes calling it's not always good for your citizens."  The US is terrified their trade war with the Chinese will push China into developing markets the US wants to control, and so to try to force the Chinese back to the negotiating table, the Trump Administration is trying to shut down their growth into other markets.  Chinese government officials and the Chinese media sharply criticized Pompeo for his less than discrete comments. (10/22)

15) [Spoilers] Trying to justify holding a campaign rally the same day as a massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Trump told another lie, this one about how the New York Stock Exchange was open the day after the 9/11 attacks.  The implication was since they were back the day after such a horrible attack, he could go out and stump for Republicans HOURS after a massacre of 11 people in America.  Of course the New York Stock exchange did not open on 9/12/01.  It was closed for a week, re-opening on 9/17. (10/27)

14) The Supreme Court has sided with the Trump Administration and will allow Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to NOT have to testify under oath about where exactly the racist question on the 2020 Census originated from.  It's known Ross lied about it not originating from the White House. Regardless of his lie, the new Trump Supreme Court stated the Commerce Secretary is such a protected position, Ross can't be questioned under oath.  (10/22)

13) [Spoilers] Even though the #MAGABomber was an undeniable delusional Trump fan wanting to attack Trump's critics, and even though the Tree of Life Synagogue terrorist was an anti-Semitic who clearly has been emboldened to attack the Jewish people in the environment created by Trump, Trump (via Twitter) outright accuses the media for being the ones who created the hatred and division in this country.  He's insisting the media are the real culprits in regards to the attacks. (10/28)

12) Reports are Typhoon Yutu has done extensive damage to the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory. The storm apparently was the 5th strongest storm recorded in modern times, and the second strongest to hit US soil.  The death toll is unknown, and there's no power or water on the islands.  Many communities on the islands are inaccessible.  52,000 people, US citizens, live on the islands.  Trump didn't made any statement on the typhoon strike until Sunday, a full four days after the typhoon struck. (10/25, 28)

11) Back in March of 2017, Trump stated there was evidence former President Obama had wire tapped his offices during the 2016 campaign.  Trump wrote "just found out that Obama had my wires tapped," implying the Federal Government corroborated the story.  He then used this 'revelation' to repeatedly attack Obama and call for a formal investigation.  Trump's own Department of Justice now admits there was absolutely no basis for Trump's accusation against his predecessor.  Trump's own Department of Justice's official response is that Trump made the entire story up. (10/22)

10) The New York Times is reporting the Chinese and Russians have been actively listening into Trump's phone conversations.  Is this due to a spy infiltrating the White House Communications platform?  Nope!  Was this due to new Chinese or Russian satellite technology?  Nope!  This is due to Trump's refusal to stop using his personal iPhone for conversations he's having with friends.  The Chinese and Russians are basically using equipment they can get from a Radio Shack to monitor Trump's calls.  Trump has repeatedly been warned about this, but he doesn't seem to care.  This has led one former FBI counterintelligence expert to state "the greatest threat to national security we have is Trump himself."  Trump on Thursday denied he used personal iPhones, insisting he only uses official government phones.  He made this statement, via twitter, on his personal iPhone.  Another witness stated he personally saw Trump call a senior staff member on his private iPhone recently. (10/24, 25)

9) As a Central American migrant caravan moves slowly through Mexico to the US border, growing to over 7000 people, the Trump Administration seems to scared of it, while at the same time trying to use it as a political weapon. After multiple people claimed (with ZERO evidence) the migrant caravan was sponsored by the Democrats and Democratic funder George Soros, Trump's now pushing another fear mongering made up lie. He claims there are "unknown Middle Easterners" mixed in with the migrants.  Trump has ZERO evidence of this.  Trump has alerted the military and border authorities about the caravan and has called it a "National Emergy!" (misspelled 'emergency').  Trump's also stated the US is now cutting off aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador because they're not stopping their people from leaving for the US (???).  The State Department has no idea about curtailed aide to those specific countries and have directed all questions about the cutting of aid back to the White House. (10/22)

8)  Good News!  Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is not planning on committing mass murder at the border!  After stories of a beefed up military presence on the US/Mexico border in response to the migrant caravan heading for the US turned into 'we'll shoot to protect ourselves' rhetoric, Nielsen had to ratchet back the tone, admitting there are no current plans for the US government to commit genocide. Then on Sunday, Nielsen lost badly in a discussion about the migrant caravan coming to the border.  On Fox news, Chris Wallace kept asking her how exactly are these people, including young children and babies, a national security threat. Neilson, after tap dancing around the question, and clearly getting annoyed, finally admitted she could not prove the caravan was indeed a threat, but insisted Trump has a right to label them as such regardless.  (10/26, 28)

7) At the big rally for Ted Cruz in Texas, Trump made a jaw dropping statement.  "I'm a nationalist."  He then tried to cover up his fascist-esque dog whistle admission by stating he was only insisting he's not a globalist, only concerned with America. The "nationalist" term screams back to numerous dictators from the past, most notably Hitler, who used his unabashed nationalism to get control of Germany.  Hitler also covered his fascist nationalist claims by insisting he was not a globalist.  (10/22)

6) Things are looking REALLY bad for Trump BFF Roger Stone.  The only thing missing from Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russia/Wikileaks/Trump Campaign stolen and leaked Clinton/DNC emails scandal is the direct connection from Russia/Wikileaks to the Trump Campaign.  Mueller is in possession of new evidence indicating Stone had direct knowledge of the Wikileaks emails prior to the emails being publicly released.  It seems that "Birther King" Jerome Corsi was the conduit between Wikileaks and Stone. Also there are other emails which claim Stone and Corsi were taking credit for the releasing of the emails.  Also released are text messages between Stone and talk show host Randy Credico about how Stone was going to convince Trump to give a full blanket pardon to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.  Put those texts with the rest of the story and Stone is pretty much dead to rights on a conspiracy to obstruct justice.  The main question now is whether Stone and Corsi will fall on the swords for Trump or will they flip. (10/25)

5) US Authorities have violated a 20 year old court order on how long minors can be detained as the Trump Administration has held immigrant children, who came into the country without a parent, for months in a temporary tent city in Texas.  A court order from 1997 says children can only be held in a non state licensed shelter for 20 days or less, before having to be placed in a state licensed shelter with access to school and legal counsel.  The tent city in Texas offers neither, nor does it have a Texas state license.  46 kids have been held in the Texas tent city since June, and over 500 children have been held past the 20 day mandatory time allotment. (10/23)

The MAGABomber and the Shooting at Tree Of Life Synagogue, as well as Trump and his Administrations response to them, are tied for first this week

1 (tie) Reports are former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, former President Bill Clinton, and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, noted billionaire George Soros (a man who donates regularly to Democratic causes), CNN and other Democratic officials have all been targeted with explosive devices which were sent to them.  Both the Obama's and the Clintons packages were intercepted by Secret Service, and the Soros package was opened by an employee, who (thankfully) didn't set it off.  This comes after rhetoric from Trump about how the three parties, (the Obama's, the Clinton's, George Soros) are evil and need to be stopped.  Trump, as well, has notoriously promoted violence against his enemies.  After initial condemnations from Vice President Mike Pence and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump initially only had re-tweeted Pence's condemnation, before reading a statement calling such behavior unacceptable.  He did not refer to the bombs as terrorism, something they clearly are. (10/24)

1 (tie) A total of ten pipe bombs have been mailed to former Democratic Presidents, Democratic politicians, CNN and others.  Thursday morning it was reported former Vice President Joe Biden was targeted by two bombs in the mail, and actor Robert DeNiro, a vocal critic of Trump, was also targeted. Trump again started attacking the media, accusing them of riling up the public, and implying the media are the real culprits behind the terrorist attack. "Mainstream media must clean up it's act, FAST."  So much for civility.  Reports are investigators are starting to focus their attention on Florida as a possible coordination point. (10/25)

1 (tie) A big news day in the story of the MAGABomber, the terrorist bomber attempting to assassinate former Presidents, high profile Democrats and Democratic supporters.  Four new bombs were discovered, one targeting Senator Corey Booker, one targeting Senator Kamala Harris, one targeting Democratic financial supporter Tom Steyer, and another targeting Former Director of National intelligence James Clapper, addressed to CNN.  This brings the total number of bombs to 13. Trump accused "this 'bomb' stuff" of slowing down Republican momentum in mid-term elections. Many people immediately criticize Trump for putting bomb in quotes, somewhat implying the bombs aren't real, and for only concerning himself with the politics of the matter, not the actual assassination attempts. Then came reports of a man, Cesar Sayoc, who's an avid Trump supporter, being arrested in Florida.  They've labelled  him the #MAGABomber.  As Trump announced the arrest, young conservatives gathered at the White House shouted out "fake news" and "Infowars," while Trump hoped the story of the largest assassination attempt in US history would "disappear rapidly" from the news.  Then, as Trump tried to bring the announcement back to a more conciliatory tone, the young conservatives started to yell about locking up one of the bomber's targets, George Soros.  Trump laughed and repeated "Ha, lock him up!"  Trump later tried to distance himself from the bomber when it became undeniable he was an ardent supporter of Trump.  Most news outlets gave a detailed breakdown of how many times Trump has encouraged violence towards his opponents, and featured images of the bomber at one of his rallies.  Later that evening, in a stunning interview, one of Trump's supporters at a Charlotte rally insisted even though the bomber had been caught and had made some initial admissions to sending the bombs, he still believed "Hillary and Obama probably mailed the bombs to themselves."  The media was forced to hire private security at the Trump rally in Charlotte to keep them safe from the seething crowd.  (10/26)

1 (tie) After an anti-Semitic bigot stormed The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11, Trump, in a stunningly tone deaf moment, told reporters the results could have been better if there had been armed guards in the house of worship.  It should be noted that three SWAT team responders, wearing full combat gear were injured as they responded to the shooting, and the shooter held himself in the synagogue for 20 minutes after being confronted.  A security guard wouldn't have stopped him.  It was talking points straight from the NRA as Trump stated the Jewish people wanting to congregate without weapons is the real problem.  Another extremely troubling aspect of Trump's comments is how clearly he's blaming the victims themselves for being shot.  It's reminiscent of another time when violence against Jewish people was inspired by a country's leader, and the leader told the victims it was their fault for being attacked.  If I could only remember which Reich that was...With the tragic shooting at the Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the number of white supremacist terrorist strikes which have led to at least one death since Trump came into office is 18. (10/27)

I can't tell you how important it is that everyone vote.  Are you registered to vote?  Do you know where to vote?  Does your state offer early voting and can you still take advantage of it (in Minnesota that is a big yes!)?  Are your friends and family registered to vote?  Do your friends and family know where to vote?  Have you asked everyone you know if they are going to vote?  If not, you need to.  We're only trying to save Democracy.

#2018IsEverything.  Good luck everyone.  Talk in two weeks.