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This is the best thing I’ve read online, in any context, lately.

American mass media journalism is broken. There are some simple elements of US journalistic practice that have proved easy for special interests to hack, and the editors at least have allowed themselves to be used by sinister forces. (I am speaking primarily of television news here, and primarily of the 24 hour channels).
Despite the impression that Trump hates the press and forms a danger to it, the mass media actually has fallen for him, hard…
This news model also allowed climate denialists and before them cigarette cancer denialists to manipulate the system. If every story has two points of view and they are equal, then you have to present both. But where one side in this debate is factually incorrect, it means you are doing the opposite of journalism. You are diluting the truth with false, paid-for propaganda.
There aren’t two factually correct sides of every issue. Racism is not a legitimate explanation for anything. Immigrants are mostly law-abiding and do not take jobs from native-born people because they compete in different labor markets. There isn’t a fixed amount of labor (a “lump of labor”) in an economy– economies can expand precisely because there are more workers available than before.
Cable news is now pumping out Trump talking points hourly to millions of people around the globe, because of their broken business model. It is degrading our society and our human values.
(Informed Comment)

I remember the endless “debates” on cable news, when I used to watch it. They’re pretty much scripted, and it’s obvious that Rule #1 is that you never, ever humiliate the conservative, no matter how utterly idiotic the right-wing talking points being bloviated. It makes that crap especially annoying to deal with, and unfortunately it seems to be the case at outlets like TPT’s “Almanac” as well.


trump17Someone looked at the actual facts. How dare they!

President Donald Trump’s effort to put coal miners back to work stumbled in most coal producing states last year, even as overall employment in the downtrodden sector grew modestly, according to preliminary government data obtained by Reuters.
Trump made reviving the coal industry, and the declining communities that depend upon its jobs, a central tenet in his presidential campaign and has rolled back Obama-era environmental regulations to give the industry a boost.
But the effort has had little impact on domestic demand for coal so far, with U.S. utilities still shutting coal-fired power plants and shifting to cheaper natural gas – moving toward a lower carbon future despite the direction the White House is plotting under Trump.


trump15Incompetent. Cowardly and secretive. All that stuff.

The Trump administration has either failed to complete or is keeping from the public more than half of the reports that President Donald Trump assigned to the administration through his early and prolific use of the executive order. Of the reports it did complete, many were turned in well past the assigned due date and only “complete” in the sense that they consist of words on paper.
In his first year in office, Trump ordered 95 separate reports, performance reviews, instructions, or other activities to be carried out by executive branch agencies. The Intercept has been reviewing these orders for the last year. We found that 48 of the 95 actions were completed, in many cases after the due date stipulated in the order. Federal agencies have yet to complete another 20. In 27 cases, the agency was unresponsive to our requests for information.
(David Dayen/The Intercept)


30 minutes with Paul Thissen

by JeffStrate on January 18, 2018 · 0 comments

Minnesota legislator Paul Thissen hopes to win the DFL Party endorsement for his 2018 bid for Governor.  Rep. Thissen, a progressive Minneapolis Democrat, and host Tim O’Brien discussed the up-coming legislative session and campaign season on December 29, 2017 at our studio in Bloomington.  The former House Speaker and DFL elder provide an engaging and informed take on what’s ahead.


Democratic Visions is handcrafted by southwest suburban, lefty volunteers.  We specialize in one-on-one conversations and occasionally conjure up satire and commentary.


Democratic Visions is looking for female commentators and interviewers to become part of Minnesota’s most appealing political issues program.   For more information, contact me, Jeff Strate, via Facebook.


Big red-to-blue flip in Wisconsin

by Dan Burns on January 17, 2018 · 0 comments

Minnesota has two elections for state legislative seats set for Feb. 12. I’ll be blogging more about those.

Democrats have just pulled off the first election upset of 2018. In northwestern Wisconsin’s Senate District 10, Democrat Patty Schachtner defeated Republican Adam Jarchow 55-45 percent to flip a seat the GOP has held since 2000. Tuesday’s shocking upset arguably puts the Wisconsin Senate majority in play this fall (which is now 18 Republicans to 14 Democrats, with one vacancy).
This supposedly safe Republican seat became open when GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf accepted an appointment to Scott Walker’s cabinet late last year. Despite the fact that SD-10 went 55-38 for Trump in 2016 and 52-46 for Romney in 2012, Democrats were cautiously optimistic about their chances here.
(Daily Kos)


sulfideHere’s more background about sulfide mining proposals in Minnesota. Those in the state who won’t let the horrific Twin Metals proposal die an easy death may mean well by their own lights, but are in fact exercising extremely poor judgment.

Trump’s Interior Department is reinstating two 1966 leases, written before today’s federal environmental laws, that could allow a Chilean mining company to build a giant copper-and-nickel mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters wilderness area in northern Minnesota.
The mining company is controlled by Andrónico Luksic, whose family controls a mining, banking and industrial empire that Forbes estimates is valued at $13.1 billion. Luksic also dabbles in Washington, D.C., residential real estate and has a business relationship with the Trump family. He is First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s and First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s landlord…
Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of Antofagasta PLC, sued in federal court over the leases for 4,800 acres on the southwest border of the Boundary Waters even before the Obama administration decided in December 2016 against renewing them.


trump19This article is quite comprehensive.

More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s US condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.
Records show that more than 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and that the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders.
Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016. Treasury’s financial-crimes unit has, in recent years, launched investigations around the country into all-cash shell-company real-estate purchases amid concerns that some such sales may involve money laundering. The agency is considering requiring real-estate professionals to adopt anti-money-laundering programs.
All-cash purchases by shell companies do not by themselves indicate illegal or improper activity, and they have become more common in recent years in both Trump buildings and other luxury home sales across the United States. Developers such as Trump have no obligation to scrutinize their purchasers or their funding sources.
But federal investigations “continue to reveal corrupt politicians, drug traffickers and other criminals using shell companies to purchase luxury real estate with cash,” Treasury’s former financial-crimes chief Jennifer Shasky Calvery said at a Capitol Hill hearing in 2016.


trump10I’m not letting myself actually get optimistic, yet. From my own perspective (which should never be regarded as a source of anything like claims to complete, final, and absolute truth), my #1 lesson from 2016 is that the overall socio-political intelligence in this country is less than I had fondly believed it to be. But certainly the signs going forward could be a lot worse.

The SurveyMonkey results put Trump’s total approval rating for 2017 at 42 percent, with 56 percent disapproving. That’s slightly higher than, but within range of, other major public surveys.
In the 2016 election, exit polls found that Trump’s best group was whites without a four-year college degree; he carried 66 percent of them. But his approval among them in the 2017 SurveyMonkey average slipped to 56 percent. In 2016, whites with at least a four-year college degree gave Trump 48 percent of their votes. But in the 2017 average, just 40 percent approved of Trump’s performance, while a resounding 60 percent disapproved.
Layering in gender and age underscores voters’ retreat. Trump in 2016 narrowly won younger whites. But he now faces crushing disapproval ratings ranging from 62 percent to 76 percent among three big groups of white Millennials: women with and without a college degree, and men with a degree. Even among white Millennial men without a degree, his most natural supporters, Trump only scores a 49-49 split.
(The Atlantic)

OK, if you want to get with an additional, kind of upbeat perspective (from Mother Jones), here you are. But I can’t help but go back to how confident I was of an historic blue wave when it became clear that Trump really would be the GOP presidential candidate.


trump12The “Dotard-in-Chief.”

Yes, this really happened. Donald Trump proudly stood up and bragged that he had delivered, to Norway, a made-up military jet from a video game.
…the problem is that he can’t read. The man who spent quality time bashing the last president for teleprompter-reading cannot read numbers off a page. He meant to say the Norway government was receiving the first F-35 jets, the controversial aircraft designed to do All The Things that has received harsh criticism for its ballooning and enormous price tag, but there were two damn numbers in the same paragraph and it caused Donald to lose the plot.
(Daily Kos)


graphic with Adam Jennings and Jon Spayde
Democrat Adam Jennings is one of three candidates hoping to
earn the DFL Congressional District 3 Party endorsement to challenge
Republican incumbent Eric Paulsen in the November general election.
Jennings, a member of the Tonka Bay City Council and a Minnesota Army
National Guard veteran who served in Kosovo, lays out his plans to
represent the suburban congressional district which includes Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, most of Edina, Champlin, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park and other cities.
Jennings on YouTube here.
The new edition also features improv humorist/actor Jon Spayde as Prescott Beauregard, a Southern gentleman with thoughts on the removal of Confederate flags and statues, as well a number of southern politicians.
Jon Spayde’s Prescott Beauregard on YouTube here.
Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through Southwest Community Television at the BCAT studio in the Bloomington Civic Plaza.


The Democratic Visions Channel on YouTube archives more than 300 videos here.

Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through Southwest Community Television.

Eden Prairie, M’tonka, Hopkins, Richfield and Edina, Comcast CH 15 and Centurylink CH 8111 – Saturdays @ 2pm, Sundays @ 9pm, Mondays @ 10pm, Wednesdays @ 5:30 pm.

Champlin, Anoka, Andover & Ramsey Mondays on QCTV –  Mondays @ 10:30 am, Wednesdays @ 10:30 am, Thursdays @ 1pm, Fridays @ 1pm, Saturdays @ 10:30 am.

Bloomington, BCAT CH 16 and CenturyLink 8216 – Tuesdays @ 2:00pm  & 10pm, Fridays @ 9:30 pm, Saturdays @ 7:30 am & 2:30 pm.

MInneapolis, MTN CH 16 – Sundays @ 8:30 pm, Mondays @ 3:30 am, 9:30 am & 2:30 pm

St. Paul, SPNN CH 15 – Thursdays @ 9pm, Fridays @ 4:00am & 2pm.